Research

Job Talk Paper


“The Effect of Outgroup Trust on Cross Ethic Voting: Evidence from an Imagined Intergroup Contact Experiment.”

This study examines the effect of outgroup trust on an individual’s likelihood to engage in cross ethnic voting or voting for a non-co-ethnic candidate in contexts where ethnicity is politically salient. To test this, I conducted an experiment manipulating the level of outgroup trust on two different population samples: U.S. undergraduate students in a mid-western university and Myanmar migrants living the United States. I find that in both population samples, outgroup trust was positively correlated with the likelihood of voting for a non-co-ethnic candidate. The intended effect of the imagined intergroup contact treatment, however, was present in both samples, but the effect was estimated with more certainty among the U.S. student sample. Contrary to my expectation, the imagined intergroup contact had a negative effect on voting for a non-co-ethnic candidate. Yet, this effect was only statistically significant among the Myanmar migrant sample, but not the U.S. student sample.

Working Papers


“Outgroup Trust and Cross Ethnic Voting in New Democracies: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa.”

This study examines the relationship between outgroup trust and cross ethnic voting across new democracies in sub-Saharan Africa. I propose two mechanisms through which outgroup trust influences voting behavior in ethnically salient contexts. The information receptivity mechanism hypothesizes that voters with high levels of outgroup trust and with greater access to information on candidates are more likely to vote for a non-co-ethnic candidate. The collective action mechanism proposes that individuals with high levels of out-group trust and high level of information on the voting intentions of co-ethnic and non-co-ethnic members are less likely to vote for a co-ethnic candidate. I test the relationship between outgroup trust and cross ethnic voting using the Wave 3 Afrobarometer survey data for 10 sub-Saharan new democracies. Results derived from a country fixed effects model show support for the hypothesis that individuals with high levels of outgroup trust are more likely to vote for a non-co-ethnic candidate. This, however, is conditional on one’s ethnic group status. Outgroup trust is a significant and positive predictor of cross ethnic voting only among ethnic majority group members. I find no support for the information receptivity mechanism. The collective action hypothesis, on the other hand, is supported, but only among the ethnic minority group members. Ethnic minority respondents that frequently engage in political conversations and has high levels of outgroup trust are more likely to vote for a non-co-ethnic than frequent discussers with low levels of outgroup trust.

“Who is a “Migrant” in the Study of Migrant Incorporation?: Broadening Our Understanding of Migrant Populations.” (with Matthew S. Winters, Cara Wong, and Yuan-Ning Chu)

The study of migrant populations involves difficult decisions about who to include or exclude in any given piece of research. With migrant incorporation as an outcome of interest, we develop a typology of individuals comprising and associated with migrant populations. We then discuss the prevalence of these different groups across a set of five case-study countries, including ones outside North America and Europe that are not typically the focus of studies of migrant incorporation. Enumerating the categories of individuals who traditionally have been more marginalized in these studies can guide researchers toward analytically informative comparisons to help reshape our theories and improve our evaluation of integration policies. This study is supported by the Illinois Global Institute’s Migration and Refugees in Regional and Global Perspectives Initiatives and by the Center for Social and Behavioral Studies at the University of Illinois.

“Singapore Migrant Political Participation: Home versus Host Country.” (with Matthew S. Winters, Cara Wong, and Yuan-Ning Chu)

Do migrants, once abroad, try to retain political connections with their home country or put more effort in engaging with politics of the host country? Our study focuses on the case of migrants in Singapore and contributes to the ongoing debate on the relationship between political participation in the country of origin and the country of residence. Using originally collected survey data among 441 immigrants born outside of Singapore, we find support that political participation in a host country environment may be correlated with an immigrant’s inclination to participate in transnational politics in their homeland, even when those immigrants show a high level of socioeconomic incorporation. This study is supported by the Illinois Global Institute’s Migration and Refugees in Regional and Global Perspectives Initiatives and by the Center for Social and Behavioral Studies at the University of Illinois.

Work in Progress


“The Effect of Outgroup Trust on Cross Ethnic Voting: Testing the Mechanisms.”

This study examines the mechanisms through which outgroup trust affects the likelihood of voting for a non-co-ethnic candidate using a survey experiment on Myanmar migrants living in Thailand. I propose three mechanisms through which an increase in outgroup trust can affect voting behavior in contexts where ethnicity is a salient political identity. They are the network mechanism, information receptivity mechanism, and the collective action mechanism. First, the network mechanism proposes that outgroup-trusting voters are more likely to have an ethnically diverse social network in which they are exposed to both positive and negative information about co- and non-co-ethnic candidates. Because this information comes from credible sources within one’s trustworthy social network, these individuals are then more likely to pick a candidate based on qualifications rather than on ethnicity. Second, the information receptivity mechanism hypothesizes that voters with high levels of outgroup trust are more likely to process information with an objective eye. As they evaluate the information on both co- and non-co-ethnic candidates without bias, they tend to vote for the more qualified candidate, regardless of ethnicity. Last, the collective action mechanism proposes that outgroup trusting-voters are more likely to trust that non-co-ethnic voters will incur some costs of contributing to the collective good of keeping qualified candidates in power and expelling poor performing candidates. In turn, outgroup-trusting individuals are more likely to vote for a candidate based on qualifications not ethnicity. Using a survey experiment, I, first manipulate the level of outgroup trust using an imagined intergroup contact method, followed by a performance report of a hypothetical Myanmar incumbent, who may or may not be of the same ethnicity. This is followed a list of questions that get at the three mechanisms. This study is supported by the University of Illinois’ Robert Ferber and Seymour Sudman Dissertation Awards for Survey Research.

“Outgroup Trust, Partisan Identity, and Political Behaviors in the United States.”

What is the effect of outgroup trust or trust towards the outpartisan group on the likelihood of supporting a candidate of the opposition party? I argue that individuals with a higher level of outgroup trust will be more likely to support a candidate of the opposition party than those with a lower level of outgroup trust. I propose three mechanisms through which outgroup trust can affect an individual’s chances of supporting a candidate of the opposition party. They are the network mechanism, information receptivity mechanism, and the collective action mechanism. I test these mechanisms in the U.S. context using a survey experiment on U.S. undergraduate students in a mid-western university.


“Overseas Voting and Election Legitimacy in Latin America.” (with Matthew S. Winters, Cara Wong, and Jair Moreira)

How do citizens perceive overseas voting? There is a lively debate among normative political theorists regarding the democratic legitimacy of external voting and the issues of legitimacy that may arise from extending the franchise to non-resident citizens in home-country elections. Despite the lively debate among political theorists, relatively little is known about how citizens living in the home country regard the extension of voting rights to emigrants. Our study theorizes that when external voting poses an external determination threat to the results of the election, then at home voters will question the legitimacy and take political stances that favor limiting the enfranchisement of citizens living abroad. We test this theory within the context of Peruvian politics through a survey experiment that manipulates the threat that external voters pose by potentially determining the result of an election. This study is supported by the Illinois Global Institute’s Migration and Refugees in Regional and Global Perspectives Initiatives and by the Center for Social and Behavioral Studies at the University of Illinois.