Recent Submissions

  • Alaska's new electoral system: Countering polarization or "crooked as hell"?

    Reilly, Benjamin; Lublin, David; Wright, Glenn (eScholarship University of California, 2023)
    In November 2020, Alaska introduced a new electoral system, combining a “top four” all-party primary with ranked choice voting (RCV) general elections. Supporters of this reform claimed it would reduce the partisan polarization and minority victories generated by closed primaries and plurality elections. But critics suggest that it could make polarization worse by weakening political parties—an important check on political extremism. These are high-stakes issues that go well beyond Alaska, given the problem of political polarization and the search for institutional reforms in America today. Placing the Alaskan reforms in this broader national context, this paper presents an initial assessment of Alaska’s new system at the 2022 primary and mid-term elections. We find the reform was both consequential and largely beneficial, promoting greater choice for voters, more accommodative campaigning, and generally more moderate outcomes than likely under the old rules.
  • Conformity and tradition are more important than environmental values in constraining resource overharvest

    Wright, Glenn; Salk, Carl; Magnuszewski, Piotr; Stefanska, Joanna; Anderson, Krister; Benavides, Jean Paul; Chazdon, Robin (PLOS, 2023-02-02)
    We present the results of a hybrid research design that borrows from both experimental techniques—experimental games—and observational techniques—surveys—to examine the relationships between basic human values and exposure to natural ecosystems, on the one hand, and collective action for resource governance, on the other. We initially hypothesize that more frequent exposure to forests, and more pro-environmental values will be associated with more conservation action. However, we find that other values—tradition and conformity—are more important than pro-environmental values or exposure to nature. Our results imply that resource governance is likely to be more successful where resource users hold values that facilitate cooperation, not necessarily strong pro-environmental values.