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Can Gestures of Goodwill from the State Condition Attitudes in Post-Authoritarian Democracies?: A Field Experiment
Unformatted Document Text:  13 of goodwill boosted individuals’ prospective civic engagement level by 10.70 percent in the first specification and by a striking 19.09 percent in the second specification. 11 These findings give us reason for pause. If gestures of goodwill provoke negative attitudinal responses in those who receive them we need to ask why. I speculate that how and when people choose to take part in the country’s political life occurs differently in post-authoritarian democracies as opposed to well-established ones. While it is easy to say that for the most part individuals in established democracies are socialized in a political climate that fosters a positive view of the state and democratic participation, it is something of a stretch to say the same is true for Mexico. It is not difficult to imagine that 70 years of one-party-rule cast a huge shadow over how Mexicans see the government. Some learned behaviors might be difficult to overcome, and this might be especially true in low-income neighborhoods where negative views of the state might be more acute. It is within reason to expect that individuals acculturated under an authoritarian regime will carry with them a view of government tainted by years of personal experiences. Thus, a lifetime of exposure to government abuses of power, police corruption, and political impunity teach individuals important lessons about the nature of the regime. Empirical work conducted in low-income neighborhoods in the U.S., and electoral studies done in Mexico and Argentina buttress this assumption. Attitudes toward the government, political attitudes in general, and the willingness to participate in politics are determined in part by an individual’s experience with bureaucracy (Katz et al. 11 As King et al. (2001) suggest, attrition bias and other missing data issues can have profound effects on our abilities to make correct inferences, especially when missing cases are not missing completely at random. Under these circumstances relying on listwise deletion may be an unwise approach. In order to check for potential bias I re-estimated the models using Amelia software (King et al. 2001) When these results are compared no significant differences emerge. These results are available upon request.

Authors: Nishikawa, Katsuo.
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13
of goodwill boosted individuals’ prospective civic engagement level by 10.70 percent in
the first specification and by a striking 19.09 percent in the second specification.
11
These findings give us reason for pause. If gestures of goodwill provoke negative
attitudinal responses in those who receive them we need to ask why. I speculate that how
and when people choose to take part in the country’s political life occurs differently in
post-authoritarian democracies as opposed to well-established ones. While it is easy to
say that for the most part individuals in established democracies are socialized in a
political climate that fosters a positive view of the state and democratic participation, it is
something of a stretch to say the same is true for Mexico. It is not difficult to imagine
that 70 years of one-party-rule cast a huge shadow over how Mexicans see the
government. Some learned behaviors might be difficult to overcome, and this might be
especially true in low-income neighborhoods where negative views of the state might be
more acute. It is within reason to expect that individuals acculturated under an
authoritarian regime will carry with them a view of government tainted by years of
personal experiences. Thus, a lifetime of exposure to government abuses of power,
police corruption, and political impunity teach individuals important lessons about the
nature of the regime.
Empirical work conducted in low-income neighborhoods in the U.S., and
electoral studies done in Mexico and Argentina buttress this assumption. Attitudes
toward the government, political attitudes in general, and the willingness to participate in
politics are determined in part by an individual’s experience with bureaucracy (Katz et al.
11
As King et al. (2001) suggest, attrition bias and other missing data issues can have profound effects on
our abilities to make correct inferences, especially when missing cases are not missing completely at
random. Under these circumstances relying on listwise deletion may be an unwise approach. In order to
check for potential bias I re-estimated the models using Amelia software (King et al. 2001) When these
results are compared no significant differences emerge. These results are available upon request.


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