Room 350, Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics (133 S. 36th Street)
Food provided / Free and open to the public
Arturo Castellanos (Cornell Law School)
"Shosics: Their Right to Vote and to Hold Office in the United States"
Alexander Kustov (Princeton University, Department of Politics)
"The Borders of Compassion: Immigration and the Politics of Parochial Altruism"
In the vast majority of countries, citizenship remains a virtually unchallenged condition for the right to vote. Today, millions of people are denied the right to vote by democratic governments all over the world because they are not citizens of the country where they reside. This makes Resident Non-Citizens (RNCs) one of the largest groups of adults excluded from participation in democratic processes. ARTURO CASTELLANOS argues that the fundamental reason for worrying about democratic exclusion of RNCs is that public authorities often neglect people without a political voice. People who are denied political avenues for voicing their concerns are not as successful in attracting the attention of mayors, governors, presidents, legislators, and judges. This situation―which leads to exclusion and discrimination―is particularly worrying in countries like the United States, which is home to 43.3 million immigrants out of which 22.6 million are RNCs (MPI, 2017). In other words, 7% of the population of the United States does not have the right to vote in their country of residence, because the American legal framework has made a distinction between Citizens and RNCs. Eventually, this concern will have to be addressed by courts and it will become a hard case to solve for the judges. In his research, Castellanos intends to provide answers to the future hard questions that they will address.
Widespread opposition to immigration among educated and racially egalitarian voters is hard to explain using existing frameworks that attribute these sentiments to self-interest or prejudice. ALEXANDER KUSTOV address this puzzle by developing a theory of parochial altruism, which argues that many voters are willing to help others at even a personal cost, but they want to help their fellow citizens first. Voters thus tend to favor harsh restrictions on immigration--when they perceive them as necessary to secure the well-being of compatriots. Using a novel measure of elicited preferences, Kustov ran a population-based UK study to find that, compared to altruistic voters who donate to global charities, altruists who chose to donate to domestic charities were as anti-immigration as those who do not donate. All altruists were nevertheless more likely to support immigration when it explicitly benefits their country. Kustov then conducted a pre-registered, population-based conjoint experiment to estimate the effect of policy consequences on immigration policy choice. The results demonstrated that, despite their ethnic biases, most voters can in principle support increasing immigration from non-European countries if they believe it benefits themselves and their compatriots. As indicated by similar results from the US and other countries, Kustov argues that the political dynamic of parochial altruism is a general phenomenon.