Winners: Yue Hou, University of Pennsylvania; Kai Quek, University of Hong Kong Title of the winning paper: “Violence Exposure and Support for State Use of Force in a Non-Democracy” Publishing information: Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2019 Committee Members: Kevin Arceneaux (Chair), Temple University; Daniel Rubenson, Ryerson University; Liz Zechmeister, Vanderbilt University
Their article makes an important contribution to scholarship on how violence and threats tend to push individuals in an authoritarian direction. The vast majority of research on this topic focuses on WEIRD contexts, whereas the authors consider these dynamics in an authoritarian context (China). They employ a clever survey experiment in which they manipulate both the presence of a recent terrorist attack and the ethnicity of the attackers. They find that violence pushes people in a more authoritarian direction, especially working-class Chinese. These findings dovetail with research in WEIRD contexts and show that this dynamic may be universal. In brief, this is a very good example of research that assesses the “traveling capacity” of a set of important ideas to a context in which it is far more challenging to gather high-quality micro-level evidence on the dynamics of public opinion.