“How Voters Respond to Executive Aggrandizement: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Turkey”
Alper H. Yağcı
Department of Political Science and International Relations
Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 12:30 p.m.
***This is an online event. To obtain Zoom link and password, please contact to the department.
Why do voters support executive aggrandizement? One possible answer is that they do so because they think this will ease their preferred leader’s hand in putting their partisan vision into action, provided that the leader will continue winning elections. We study this phenomenon through a survey experiment in Turkey, by manipulating voters’ perceptions about the potential results of the first presidential election after a constitutional referendum of executive aggrandizement. We find that voters from both sides display what we call “elastic support” for executive aggrandizement; i.e. they change previously revealed constitutional preferences in response to varying winning chances of their preferred candidate. This elasticity increases not only when citizens feel greater social distance to perceived political “others” (i.e. affective polarization), but also when voters are concerned about economic management in a potential post-incumbent era. Our findings contribute to the literature on how polarization and economic anxiety contribute to executive aggrandizement and democratic backsliding.
Alper Yağcı received his PhD from the UMass Amherst, and he currently teaches at Bogazici University. He studies political behavior, institutions and political economy. His research has been published at Party Politics, Journal of European Public Policy, Electoral Politics, New Political Economy, Government and Opposition, Mediterranean Politics, Turkish Politics.