Pre-registrations and Pre-Analysis Plans

Privacy Versus Security in Trying Times: Evidence from Russian Public Opinion
with K. Chmel (NRU – HSE), M. Mironyuk (NRU – HSE), and D. Rosenberg (NRU – HSE)

When are citizens willing to give up civil rights to enable governments to deal with large-scale emergencies in non-democracies? Emergency responses are one of the most fundamental public services governments provide. Digital transformations in government services both create new possibilities for effective emergency measures and greater intrusions on civil liberties. Existing work on public support for emergency responses suggests that individuals accept intrusive measures when they are credibly framed as temporary responses to actual emergencies. Such work has largely focused on democracies, however, where institutions constrain government abuses. On the one hand, individuals in non-democracies may be more skeptical of emergency measures due to lack of competition and opportunities for redress. Institutional trust should therefore play an important role in such settings. On the other hand, skepticism may be tempered by exposure to and fear of emergencies being addressed. We test these arguments using an original vignette experiment that manipulates the type of emergency intrusive measures address (terrorism vs. an epidemic) and their duration to support for them. We embed this experiment on a survey of more than 16,250 respondents across 60 Russian regions. Our findings provide important insights into the logic of responses to public safety threats and public opinion about them in non-democracies.

Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 82/PS/2021 Pre-registration page and Pre-analysis Plan

Services, Clientelism, and Political Support: Evidence from Russia’s Regions
with H. Hale (George Washington University) and K. Chmel (NRU – HSE)

How and when do electoral autocracies successfully manipulate the provision of public services to shape electoral outcomes? What are the electoral returns of doing so? Existing work on clientelism shows that authorities often selectively provide or withhold public services in order to reap electoral gains. A key element to their success is the ability to create expectations amongst potential voters that future service provision outcomes depends on present electoral behavior. Whereas existing work focuses on the role of direct clientelist appeals to create these expectations, this study argues that they can also emerge indirectly as experiences and authorities’ signals diffuse across broader communities. We argue that expectations over particular strategies are tied to local conditions that decrease costs of a given strategy relative to others and make voters more readily believe the strategies are feasible. In such environments, even limited deployment or pointed signals can diffuse quickly through communities and shape broader popular expectations. Using a novel set of list experiments embedded on an original survey of more 16,250 respondents in 60 Russian regions, this study explores both how (and whether) voters expect services to be linked to political behavior and where such expectations emerge. Combining these data with observational electoral data, this study then explores the electoral returns of these expectations and, using a novel vignette experiment, whether there are electoral trade-offs to distorting services for political ends.

Pre-registration page and Pre-analysis plan

Social Policy Preferences, Deservingness, and the Quality of Institutions”
with S. Wilson Sokhey (University of Colorado, Boulder) and K. Chmel (NRU – HSE)

How does institutional quality shape support for social policy and the types of groups that should benefit? In this project, we provide simple extensions to two existing theories of social policy preferences in order to generate competing predictions over how institutional quality might shape support for social policy and who should receive it. Specifically, we contrast a theory in which institutions are a dead-weight cost on social policy to one in which institutions create market distortions that drive up individual risk. We then use a survey experimental approach to test these empirically on individual-level support for social policy programs and who should receive them.

Pre-registration page and Pre-Analysis Plan