Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Political Competition, Partisanship and Interpersonal Trust in Electoral Democracies

Abstract

How does democratic politics inform the interdisciplinary debate on the evolution of human co-operation and the social preferences (for example, trust, altruism and reciprocity) that support it? This article advances a theory of partisan trust discrimination in electoral democracies based on social identity, cognitive heuristics and interparty competition. Evidence from behavioral experiments in eight democracies show ‘trust gaps’ between co- and rival partisans are ubiquitous, and larger than trust gaps based on the social identities that undergird the party system. A natural experiment found that partisan trust gaps in the United States disappeared immediately following the killing of Osama bin Laden. But observational data indicate that partisan trust gaps track with perceptions of party polarization in all eight cases. Finally, the effects of partisanship on trust outstrip minimal group treatments, yet minimal-group effects are on par with the effects of most treatments for ascriptive characteristics in the literature. In sum, these findings suggest political competition dramatically shapes the salience of partisanship in interpersonal trust, the foundation of co-operation.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Department of Political Science, Georgia State University (email: rcarlin@gsu.edu); Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi (email: gjlove@olemiss.edu). The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Georgia State University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, Center for Human Rights and Democracy, and University Research Services Administration. Many thanks to our local collaborators: Allyson Benton, Fernanda Boidi, Abby Córdova, Alejandro Díaz-Domínguez, Estefania Domínguez, Pedro Magalhães, Sergio Martini, Robert Mattes, Álvaro Neira, Mauricio Olivares, Rosario Queirolo, Alexandra Searle, Mariano Torcal, Ludwig van Bedolla, Ivania Villa-Alta, and Daniel Young. For feedback on the project and drafts we thank Rosario Aguilar, Andy Baker, Ryan Bakker, Jason Barabas, Fernanda Boidi, James Cox, Christopher Dawes, Raymond Duch, Catherine Eckel, James Fowler, Ana Carolina Garriga, Jonathan Hartlyn, Timothy Hellwig, Cindy Kam, Josepsh Klesner, Reuben Kline, Peter Loewen, Neil Malhotra, Kristin Michelitch, Brian Paciotti, Lucio Renno, Jason Reifler, Sean Richey, Rodolfo Sarsfield, Mitchell Seligson, Shane Singh, John Sholz, Mariano Torcal, Rick Wilson, Elizabeth Zechmeister, and participants in talks delivered at the Universidad Central, University of Georgia, Florida State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Mississippi, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, CIDE Mexico and New York University. All remaining errors are our own. Data replication sets are available at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS, and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123415000526.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
AlesinaAlberto, DevleeschauwerArnaud, EasterlyWilliam, KurlatSergio, and WacziargRomain. 2003. Fractionalization. Journal of Economic Growth 8:155194.
AllportGordon W. 1954. The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
AlmondGabriel. A., and VerbaSidney. 1963. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
AndreoniJames, and PetrieRagan. 2008. Beauty, Gender and Stereotypes: Evidence from Laboratory Experiments. Journal of Economic Psychology 29:7393.
ArrowKenneth J. 1974. The Limits of Organization. New York: Norton.
BahryDonna, KosolapovMikhail, KozyrevaPolina, and WilsonRick K.. 2005. Ethnicity and Trust: Evidence from Russia. American Political Science Review 99:512532.
BanfieldEdward C. 1958. The Moral Basis of a Backward Society. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.
BartoliniStefano, and MairPeter. 1990. Identity, Competition, and Electoral Availability: The Stabilisation of European Electorates 1885-1985. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
BergJoyce, DickautJohn, and McCabeKevin. 1995. Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History. Games and Economic Behavior 10:122142.
BilligMichael. 1985. Prejudice, Categorization, and Particularization: From a Perceptual to a Rhetorical Approach. European Journal of Social Psychology 15:79103.
BornhorstFabian, IchinoAndrea, KirchkampOliver, SchlagKarl, and WinterEyal. 2010. Similarities and Differences When Building Trust: The Role of Cultures. Experimental Economics 13:260283.
BowlesSamuel, and GintisHerbert. 2011. A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
BrewerMarilynn B. 1999. The Psychology of Prejudice: Ingroup Love and Outgroup Hate? Journal of Social Issues 55:429444.
BrewerMarilynn B., and CampbellDonald T.. 1976. Ethnocentrism and Intergroup Attitudes: East African Evidence. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage.
BuchanNancy R., CrosonRachel T.A., and SolnickSara. 2008. Trust and Gender: An Examination of Behavior and Beliefs in the Investment Game. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 68:466476.
BurnsJustine. 2006. Racial Stereotypes, Stigma and Trust in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Economic Modeling 23:805821.
CampbellAngus, ConversePhilip E., MillerWarren E., and StokesDonald E.. 1960. The American Voter. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
CárdenasJuan Camilo, ChongAlberto, and ÑopoHugo. 2009. To What Extent do Latin Americans Trust, Reciprocate, and Cooperate? Evidence from Experiments in Six Latin American Countries. Economía 9:4594.
CarlinRyan E., and LoveGregory J.. 2013. The Politics of Interpersonal Trust and Reciprocity: An Experimental Approach. Political Behavior 35:4363.
CastlesFrancis G., and MairPeter. 1984. Left–Right Political Scales: Some ‘Expert’ Judgments. European Journal of Political Research 12:7388.
ChandraKanchan. 2007. Why Ethnic Parties Succeed: Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts in India. New York: Cambridge University Press.
CsukásCsongor, FrancalanzaPaulo, KovácsTamás, and WillingerMarc. 2008. The Determinants of Trusting and Reciprocal Behavior: Evidence from an Intercultural Experiment. Journal of Economic Development 33:7195.
CuddyAmy J.C., FiskeSusan T., and GlickPeter. 2007. A BIAS Map: Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92:631648.
CuddyAmy J.C., FiskeSusan T., KwanVirginia S.Y., GlickPeter, DemoulinStephanie, LeyensJacques‐Philippe, BondMichael Harris, CroizetJean-Claude, EllemersNaomi, SleebosEd, Tin HtunTin, KimHyun-Jeong, MaioGreg, PerryJudi, PetkovaKristina, TodorovValery, Rodríguez-BailónRosa, MoralesElena, MoyaMiguel, PalaciosMarisol, SmithVanessa, PerezRolando, ValaJorge, and ZieglerRene. 2009. Stereotype Content Model Across Cultures: Towards Universal Similarities and Some Differences. British Journal of Social Psychology 48:133.
DahlRobert A. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
DahlRobert A. 1997. Toward Democracy – A Journey, Reflections: 1940-1997. Berkeley, CA: Institute of Government Studies Press.
DaltonRussell J. 2008. The Quantity and the Quality of Party Systems Party System Polarization, its Measurement, and its Consequences. Comparative Political Studies 41:899920.
DelheyJan, NewtonKenneth, and WelzelChristian. 2011. How General is Trust in ‘Most People’? Solving the Radius of Trust Problem. American Sociological Review 76:786807.
DeltonAndrew W., KrasnowMax M., CosmidesLeda, and ToobyJohn. 2011. Evolution of Direct Reciprocity under Uncertainty Can Explain Human Generosity in One-Shot Encounters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:1333513340.
DownsAnthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper & Row.
DruckmanJames N., and KamCindy D.. 2011. Students as Experimental Participants: A Defense of the ‘Narrow Data Base’. In Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science, edited by James N., Druckman, Donald P., Green, James H., Kuklinski and Arthur Lupia, 4157. New York: Cambridge University Press.
EckelCatherine C., and PetrieRagan. 2011. Face Value. American Economic Review 101:14971513.
EckelCatherine C., and WilsonRick K.. 2006. Internet Cautions: Experimental Games with Internet Partners. Experimental Economics 9:5366.
EssesVictoria M., and DovidioJohn F.. 2002. The Role of Emotions in Determining Willingness to Engage in Intergroup Contact. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28 (9):12021214.
FehrErnst, FischbacherUrs, von RosenbladtBernhard, SchuppJürgen, and WagnerGert G.. 2003. A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Surveys, Discussion Paper No. 715. Bonn: IZA.
FershtmanChaim, and GneezyUri. 2001. Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach. Quarterly Journal of Economics 116:351377.
FershtmanChaim, GneezyUri, and VerbovenFrank. 2005. Discrimination and Nepotism: The Efficiency of the Anonymity Rule. Journal of Legal Studies 34:371396.
FiskeSusan T., CuddyAmy J.C., and GlickPeter. 2007. Universal Dimensions of Social Cognition: Warmth and Competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11:7783.
FiskeSusan T. 1998. Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination. In Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th edition, Volume 2, edited by Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey (eds), 357411. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
FowlerJames H., and KamCindy D.. 2007. Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation. Journal of Politics 69:813827.
FreitagMarcus, and TraünmullerRichard. 2009. Spheres of Trust: An Empirical Analysis of the Foundations of Particularised and Generalised Trust. European Journal of Political Research 48:782803.
GabelMatthew J., and HuberJohn D.. 2000. Putting Parties in Their Place: Inferring Party Ideological Positions from Party Manifestos Data. American Journal of Political Science 44:94103.
GallagherMichael. 1991. Proportionality, Disproportionality, and Electoral Systems. Electoral Studies 10:3351.
GarbarinoEllen, and SlonimRobert. 2009. The Robustness of Trust and Reciprocity Across a Heterogeneous U.S. Population. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 69:226240.
GlaeserEdward L., LaibsonDavid I., ScheinkmanJosé A., and SoutterChristine L.. 2000. Measuring Trust. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115:811846.
GonzálezRoberto, ManziJorge, SaizJosé L., BrewerMarilynn, de Tezanos-PintoPablo, TorresDavid, AravenaMaría Teresa, and AdulnateNerea. 2008. Interparty Attitudes in Chile: Coalitions as Superordinate Identities. Political Psychology 29:93118.
GranovetterMark. 1974. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
GranovetterMark. 1985. Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology 91:481510.
GreenDonald P., PalmquistBradley, and SchicklerErci. 1998. Macropartisanship: A Replication and Critique. American Political Science Review 92:883899.
GreeneSteven. 1999. Understanding Party Identification: A Social Identity Approach. Political Psychology 20:393403.
HaidtJonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics. New York: Pantheon.
HaileDaniel, SadriehAbdolkarim, and VerbonHarrie AA. 2008. Cross-Racial Envy and Underinvestment in South African Partnerships. Cambridge Journal of Economics 32:703724.
HardinRussell. 2006. Trust. Cambridge, MA: Polity.
HarrisLasana T., McClureSamuel M., van den BosWouter, CohenJonathan D., and FiskeSusan T.. 2007. Regions of the MPFC Differentially Tuned to Social and Nonsocial Affective Evaluation. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 7:309316.
HeitEvan, and NicholsonStephen P.. 2010. The Opposite of Republican: Polarization and Political Categorization. Cognitive Science 34:15031516.
HenrichJoseph, EnsmingerJean, McElreathRichard, BarrAbigail, BarrettClark, BolyanatzAlexander, Camilo CárdenasJuan, GurvenMichael, GwakoEdwins, HenrichNatalie, LesorogolCarolyn, MarloweFrank, TracerDavid, and ZikerJohn. 2010. Markets, Religion, Community Size, and the Evolution of Fairness and Punishment. Science 327 (5972):14801484.
HenrichJoseph, BoydRobert, BowlesSamuel, CamererColin, FehrErnst, and GintisHerbert, eds. 2004. Foundations of Human Sociality. New York: Oxford University Press.
HenrichJoseph, HeineSteven J., and NorenzayanAra. 2010. The Weirdest People in the World? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33:61135.
HoDaniel E., ImaiKosuke, KingGary, and StuartElizabeth A.. 2007. Matching as Nonparametric Preprocessing for Reducing Model Dependence in Parametric Causal Inference. Political Analysis 15:199236.
HobbesThomas. 1996[1651]. Leviathan: Revised Student Edition (Edited by Richard Tuck). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
HuddyLeonie. 2001. From Social to Political Identity: A Critical Examination of Social Identity Theory. Political Psychology 22:127156.
InglehartRonald. 1988. The Renaissance of Political Culture. American Political Science Review 82:12031230.
IyengarShanto, and WestwoodSean J.. 2014. Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization. American Journal of Political Science 59:690707.
Johansson-StenmanOlof, MahmudMinhaj, and MartinssonPeter. 2009. Trust and Religion: Experimental Evidence from Rural Bangladesh. Economica 79 (303):462485.
JohnsonNoel D., and MislinAlexandra A.. 2011. Trust Games: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology 32:865889.
KahnemanDaniel, SlovicPeter, and TverskyAmos, eds. 1982. Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. New York: Cambridge University Press.
KaufmannDaniel, KraayAart, and MastruzziMassimo. 2011. The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues. Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 3:220246.
KitscheltHerbert, and FreezeKevin. 2010. Programmatic Party System Structuration: Developing and Comparing Cross-National and Cross-Party Measures with a New Global Data Set. Paper Presented at the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–5 September.
KnackStephen, and KeeferPhilip. 1997. Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation. Quarterly Journal of Economics 112:12511288.
KramerRod M., and BrewerMarilynn B.. 1984. Effects of Group Identity on Resource Use in a Simulated Commons Dilemma. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46:10441057.
KruegerFrank, McCabeKevin, MollJorge, KriegeskorteNikolaus, ZahnRoland, StrenziokMaren, HeineckeArmin, and GrafmanJordan. 2007. Neural Correlates of Trust. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (50):2008420089.
LijphartArend. 1968. Typologies of Democratic Systems. Comparative Political Studies 1:344.
LipsetSeymour M., and RokkanStein. 1967. Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction. In Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives, edited by Seymour M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan, 164. New York: Free Press.
LoewenPeter John. 2010. Affinity, Antipathy and Political Participation: How our Concern for Others Makes us Vote. Canadian Journal of Political Science 43 (3):661687.
LupiaArthur, and McCubbinsMatthew D.. 1998. The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know? New York: Cambridge University Press.
MicheltichKristin. 2015. Does Electoral Competition Exacerbate Interethnic or Interpartisan Economic Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Market Price Bargaining. American Political Science Review 109:4361.
MondakJeffrey J. 1993. Public Opinion and Heuristic Processing of Source Cues. Political Behavior 15:167192.
NaefMichael, and SchuppJürgen. 2009. Measuring Trust: Experiments and Surveys in Contrast and Combination, Discussion Paper No. 4087. Bonn: IZA.
NetoOctavio Amorim, and CoxGary W.. 1997. Electoral Institutions, Cleavage Structures, and the Number of Parties. American Journal of Political Science 41:149174.
NicholsonStephen P. 2012. Polarizing Cues. American Journal of Political Science 56:5266.
NorthDouglas C. 1990. A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics. Journal of Theoretical Politics 2:355367.
OlsonMancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
OstromElinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. New York: Cambridge University Press.
PinkerSteven. 2011. The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes. UK: Penguin.
PutnamRobert D. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
PutnamRobert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
PutnamRobert D. 2002. Bowling Together. The American Prospect, 18 January. Available from http://prospect.org/article/bowling-together-0, accessed 15 November 2013.
PutnamRobert D. 2007. E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty‐First Century the 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies 30:137174.
RahnWendy. M. 1993. The Role of Partisan Stereotypes in Information Processing about Political Candidates. American Journal of Political Science 37:472496.
RandDavid G., PfeifferThomas, DreberAnna, SheketoffRachel W., WernerfeldtNils C., and BenklerYochai. 2009. Dynamic Remodeling of In-Group Bias During the 2008 Presidential Election. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (15):61876191.
RosasGuillermo. 2005. The Ideological Organization of Latin American Legislative Parties: An Empirical Analysis of Elite Policy Preferences. Comparative Political Studies 38:824849.
RothsteinBo, and UslanerEric M.. 2005. All for All: Equality, Corruption, and Social Trust. World Politics 58:4172.
RousseauDenise M., SitkinSim B., BurtRonald S., and CamererColin. 1998. Not so Different After all: A Cross-Discipline View of Trust. Academy of Management Review 23:393404.
SeabrightPaul. 2010. The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life (Revised Edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
SherifMuzafer. 1967. Group Conflict and Co-operation: Their Social Psychology. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
TajfelHenri. 1981. Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
TajfelHenri, and TurnerJohn. 1979. An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict. In The Psychology of Intergroup Relations, edited by William G. Austin and Stephen Worchel, 3347. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
TajfelHenri, BilligMichael G., BundyR.P., and FlamentClaude. 1971. Social Categorization and Intergroup Behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology 1:149178.
TillyCharles. 1985. War Making and State Making as Organized Crime. In Bringing the State Back In, edited by Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer and Theda Skocpol, 169191. New York: Cambridge University Press.
TillyCharles. 2007. Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
TorcalMariano, and MainwaringScott. 2003. The Political Recrafting of Social Bases of Party Competition: Chile, 1973–95. British Journal of Political Science 33:5584.
TorcalMariano, and MartiniSergio. 2014. Trust Across Political Conflicts: Evidence from a Survey-Experiment in Divided Societies. Paper Prepared for Delivery at the General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, Glasgow, Scotland, 3–6 September.
TurnerJoel. 2007. The Messenger Overwhelming the Message: Ideological Cues and Perceptions of Bias in Television News. Political Behavior 29:441464.
TverskyAmos, and KahnemanDaniel. 1974. Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Science 185:11241131.
UslanerEric M. 2002. The Moral Foundations of Trust. New York: Cambridge University Press.
ValidiviesoPatricio, and Villena-RoldánBenjamín. 2014. Opening the Black Box of Social Capital Formation. American Political Science Review 108:121143.
Van Den BosWouter, van DijkErik, WestenbergMichiel, RomboutsSerge A.R.B., and CroneEveline A.. 2009. What Motivates Repayment? Neural Correlates of Reciprocity in the Trust Game. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 4:294304.
WarrenMark E. 1999. Democratic Theory and Trust. In Democracy and Trust, edited by Mark E. Warren, 310345. New York: Cambridge University Press.
WillingerMarc, KeserClaudia, LohmannChristopher, and Usunier J.-CJean-Claude. 2003. A Comparison of Trust and Reciprocity Between France and Germany: Experimental Investigation Based on the Investment Game. Journal of Economic Psychology 24:447466.
WilsonRick K., and EckelCatherine C.. 2006. Judging a Book by its Cover. Political Research Quarterly 59:189202.
WilsonRick K., and EckelCatherine C.. 2011. Trust and Social Exchange. In Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science, edited by James N. Druckman, Donald P. Green, James H. Kuklinski and Arthur Lupia, 243257. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
WhittSam, and WilsonRick K.. 2007. The Dictator Game, Fairness and Ethnicity in Postwar Bosnia. American Journal of Political Science 51:655668.
World Bank. 2011. World Development Indicators. Washington, DC: The World Bank (producer and distributor). http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Carlin and Love supplementary material S1
Figures, Tables, and Text

 PDF (645 KB)
645 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 116 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 416 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.