Risk Acceptance and Contentious Politics: The Role of Risk Weights in Understanding Protest Participation

This dissertation project seeks to expand the domain of application of risk acceptance to contentious politics, noting that age based explanations of participation in these events are insufficient in explaining why individuals choose to participate in contentious politics generally. At the same time this project conceptualizes and measures risk acceptance in an innovative way. This dissertation advances two claims: The first is that risk acceptance is a function of risk weights. Risk weights are akin to life characteristics, real structural characteristics which impact the ways in which individuals make final decisions regarding risk. These are characteristics that have been linked with risk acceptance in political science literature but have not been explicitly theorized as directing impacting risk propensity. The second claim that is advances in this project is that individuals that are more risk acceptant are more likely to participate in instances of contentious politics, particularly in protest activities. 

Work In Progress

"Objectified and Dehumanized: Do Objectifying Images of Women Affect Political Attitudes?” Co-Author Claire Gothreau

Research in psychology has demonstrated that the female body is objectified far more than the male body (Fredrickson & Roberts 1997; Rudman & Borgida 1995). The extant research teaches us that the consumption of objectifying images of women is associated with rape myth beliefs, sex-role stereotypes, and increased acceptance of interpersonal violence (Custers & McNallie 2016; Lanis & Covell 1995). We build upon this literature and apply it to questions relevant to political science. We leverage a large-sample survey experiment to examine whether exposure to objectifying images of women affects attitudes regarding reproductive rights and other social policies that benefit women. We find that exposure to objectifying images of women decreases support for access to birth control and hiring policies that advantage women.

“Chemical Imbalances: Elite Attitudes toward Drug Policy in a Comparative Setting.” Co-Author Rafael Jacob

"Units of Analysis and the Micro-dynamics of Internal Conict." Co-Author Hillel Soifer. 

"Risk Acceptance, Environment and Protest Behavior in Central America" Co-Author Lee Demetrius Walker