Satisfaction with Democracy article accepted at Canadian Journal of Political Science

“Satisfaction with Democracy: The Impact of Institutions, Contexts, and Attitudes”, an article co-authored with Fred Cutler (UBC) and Andrea Nuesser (Hydro One), has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Political Science. The new citation and abstract are appended below. I’ll update this post with a link to the full article when the time comes, but for now if anyone needs a prepublication version, drop me an email.

Fred Cutler, Andrea Nuesser and Benjamin Nyblade, “Satisfaction with Democracy: The Impact of Institutions, Contexts, and Attitudes.” Forthcoming, Canadian Journal of Political Science.

In this paper we examine existing research on citizens’ Satisfaction with Democracy (SWD) and offer a new direction for research. We propose an encompassing theoretical model of institutional and individual-level determinants of citizens’ satisfaction with democracy and then estimate that model with cross-national survey and macro data. We begin with a well-specified individual-level model of SWD distinct from a model of the effects of institutions on the individual-level determinants.  Then we elaborate an empirical theory of SWD that specifies the relationship from contextual factors (especially institutions) through the individual-level mediators, to the outcome – Satisfaction with Democracy. We then employ multilevel structural equation (mediation) estimation (Preacher et al., 2010) to estimate our model on a merged dataset of European Social Survey and country-level contextual data.  The results provide a more solid theoretical and empirical grounding for findings that citizens’ judgments of democracy are based mostly in outputs and lived experience, not in institutional variation or its political consequences.

Transnational Voting Rights in Violent Democracies Article Published

The second article from the Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions Project (joint with Nathan Allen and Beth Wellman) managed to make it through the production process before the first one (forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies) I flagged in this earlier update.

Our second article is now published online in Comparative Migration Studies. The article is part of a cluster of articles focusing on Violent Democracies and their Emigrants, edited by Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz. Our article demonstrates a distinctive pattern of adoption and implementation of extraterritorial voting rights in violent democracies. While violent democracies extend transnational voting rights to their emigrants at rates comparable to other regime types, they are less likely to implement those rights, and when they do implement them, they are more likely to restrict them to insulate domestic politics from external influence.

The article is open access (no paywall!), something made possible through financial support from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Nyblade, Benjamin, Wellman, Elizabeth Iams, and Allen, Nathan. 2022. “Transnational voting rights and policies in violent democracies: a global comparison.” Comparative Migration Studies 10, 27.


In recent decades more than one hundred countries have enfranchised their diasporas, allowing emigrants to vote from abroad. However, this widespread formal recognition of extraterritorial voting rights does not always lead to increased participation of emigrants in home country politics. Migrant-sending countries have complex relationships with their diasporas, and this relationship is particularly fraught for countries with endemic violence. This article leverages a new dataset documenting the adoption and implementation of extraterritorial voting rights and restrictions for 195 countries from 1950 to 2020 to demonstrate how transnational voting rights and policies in violent democracies difer from other regimes. While violent democracies extend transnational voting rights to their emigrants at rates comparable to other regime types, they are less likely to implement those rights, and when they do implement them, they are more likely to restrict them to insulate domestic politics from external influence.

Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions article accepted at Comparative Political Studies

The initial article introducing the Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions Dataset (joint with Beth Wellman and Nathan Allen) has been accepted for publication in the journal Comparative Political Studies. The new citation and abstract are appended below, and the article is now available online (Open Access, thank you SSHRC!) at CPS’s website:

Elizabeth Iams Wellman, Nathan Allen and Benjamin Nyblade, “The Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions Dataset (1950 – 2020).” Forthcoming, Comparative Political Studies.

This paper introduces the Extraterritorial Rights and Restrictions dataset (EVRR), the first global time-series dataset of non-resident citizen voting policies and procedures. Although there have been previous efforts to document external voting, no existing data source simultaneously captures the scale (195 countries), time frame (71 years), and level of detail concerning extraterritorial voting rights and restrictions (over 20 variables). After a brief overview of prior datasets, we introduce EVRR coding criteria with a focus on conceptual clarity and transparency. Descriptive analysis of the dataset reveals both the steady expansion of extraterritorial voting as well as several regional and a temporal trends of voting rights restrictions. Finally, we extend the work of two groundbreaking cross-national studies focused on the causes and effects of external voting rights. Using EVRR data we demonstrate that including more fine-grained aspects of extraterritorial voting provisions in these analyses improves our understanding of important political and economic outcomes.

Place Attachment and Residential Solar Adoption Article Published

“The role of place attachment and environmental attitudes in adoption of rooftop solar”, an article co-authored with Charles Corbett, Hal Hershfield, Henry Kim, Tim Malloy and Alison Partie, has been published by Energy Policy as part of their March 2022 issue. Link here (free access, including downloadable PDF, should be available through the end of February at a minimum).


Prior research on adoption of rooftop solar has investigated various economic and psychological factors contributing to or impeding adoption. One psychological factor that has been linked to environmental behavior in other settings, but not yet in the context of rooftop solar, is place attachment, an individual’s sense of attachment to their community. Using a survey of over 3700 homeowners in Los Angeles County, we examine the impact of place attachment, relative to that of pro-environmental attitudes, on the decision whether to consider rooftop solar and on the decision whether to adopt it. We find that an otherwise average homeowner with pro-environmental attitudes one unit above the mean is 5.66 percentage points more likely to consider rooftop solar, while the effect of place attachment on consideration is not significant. However, among respondents who consider rooftop solar, an otherwise average homeowner with one unit stronger place attachment is 7.59 percentage points more likely to adopt, while the effect of pro-environmental attitudes on adoption is not significant. Policymakers seeking to encourage adoption of rooftop solar should contemplate leveraging place attachment, and should recognize that different policy mechanisms will be effective for homeowners in general than for those who are already considering.

Naughty Bits Article Accepted

“Naughty Bits: An Empirical Study of What Consumers Would Mute and Excise from Hollywood Fare if Only They Could”, an article co-authored with Doug Lichtman, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.


Should parents have the freedom to block potentially offensive language, sexuality, and violence from the films their children watch at home? Should an adult with reservations about explicit material be allowed to experience the movie Titanic without that film’s one notorious nude scene, or Schindler’s List without its most uncomfortable audio and video moments? And are these freedoms rightly limited by the relevant decision-maker’s ability to engage the fast-forward and mute buttons quickly enough, or should copyright law make room for more sophisticated solutions, even over the objections of a hostile copyright community? In this Article, we offer a unique contribution to this long-running debate: detailed data about what consumers would mute and excise from Hollywood films if only they could. Specifically, we report on the decisions made by roughly 300,000 viewers as they filtered and then watched nearly 4 million movie streams during calendar year 2016. The data, we argue, make a strong case in favor of a permissive copyright regime where viewers would have significant freedom to filter films according to their own religious, moral, and public policy convictions.

Building on Social Science: Theoretic Foundations for Modelers

“Building on Social Science: Theoretic Foundations for Modelers” a book chapter I co-authored with Angela O’Mahony and Katharine Sieck, is now out in Davis, O’Mahony and Pfautz, eds., Social-Behavioral Modeling for Complex Systems.

Social scientists predominantly engage in ‘mid-level’ theorizing and empirical research, which presents distinct challenges for building models. The default theoretic and empirical approaches vary across social scientific disciplines, and the validity of most social scientific theoretical and empirical research is context-dependent, making integration and cumulation of knowledge difficult. Social scientific modelers need to be aware of the challenges in building models based on mid-level theoretical frameworks and empirical research where the most common causal mechanisms involve unobserved, and potentially unobservable, mental states. This chapter begins with an overview of key social scientific theoretic frameworks that researchers draw on to build models, focusing in turn on atomistic models of individual behavior before turning to social determinants of individual behavior and theories of interaction and group behavior. While the range of theoretic frameworks used across the contemporary social sciences is diverse, they share common features that create distinct challenges for data collection and model building. With these challenges however come opportunities for building useful social scientific models that leverage cross-disciplinary perspectives and a wider range of social scientific theories.

Voice and Satisfaction With Democracy Article Accepted

“Having their Say: Authority, Voice, and Satisfaction with Democracy”, an article co-authored with Eric Merkley, Fred Cutler and Paul Quirk (political scientists at the University of British Columbia), has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics.

Abstract: Scholars have shown that citizen satisfaction with democracy is driven, in part, by having their policy preferences represented in government – authority – and that this is facilitated by “consensus” democratic institutions. Receiving far less attention has been whether such institutions also increase satisfaction by simply providing more inclusive political discourse. Citizens may value having their voice represented in politics, independent of authority. This paper presents the first experimental evidence to this effect by conducting a simulated election campaign while manipulating both the election result and the discussion of a policy issue that subjects cared about. The results show that subjects were less satisfied with democracy when they lost the simulated election, but that this gap disappeared when exposed to discussion of an issue they broadly cared about. This suggests that consensus institutions may have the capacity to cushion the blow of losing by producing more inclusive discourse.

Peacekeeping for Profit Article Accepted

“Peacekeeping for Profit? The Scope and Limits of “Mercenary” UN Peacekeeping,” a paper I co-wrote with Katharina Coleman (UBC) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Peace Research.


Developing states furnish the vast majority of UN peacekeeping troops, and academics and policy makers frequently assert that one key reason for this is that developing states are able to derive a profit from UN peacekeeping reimbursements. In this article we argue that this ‘Peacekeeping for Profit’ narrative has been vastly overstated. The conditions for significantly profiting from UN peacekeeping are in fact highly restrictive, even for developing states. We begin by highlighting two potent reasons for re-examining this narrative: developing states emerged as the UN’s principal troop contributors in a period of stagnant reimbursement rates; and the quantitative evidence scholars have presented as supporting the peacekeeping for profit narrative is flawed. We then identify the scope conditions within which peacekeeping for profit provides a plausible explanation for a developing state’s UN troop contributions. First, the deployment and its attendant reimbursements must be significant not only in absolute and per-soldier terms but also in relation to the state’s total armed forces and military expenditure. Second, the state must have an exceptional ability, in comparison with other troop contributors, to benefit from UN reimbursements, because the scope for generalized profit-making from either equipment or personnel contributions is limited by intense political pressure against reimbursement rate increases. Individual states can nevertheless make a profit if they 1) invest in inexpensive and old but functional equipment, especially if deployed with usage restrictions and/or 2) limit the deployment allowances (rather than salaries) they pay their UN peacekeepers. Critically, meeting these requirements reflects national policy decisions, not simply national development levels. We establish that only a limited subset of developing states meets the plausibility conditions for the peacekeeping for profit narrative – and many top UN troop contributors do not.