The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

Frustrated Majorities

How Issue Intensity Enables Smaller Groups of Voters to Get What They Want

March 28
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Batts Hall 5.018
Seth Hill

Many conclude from frustrated majorities a failure of democracy. I argue the opposite may be true – that politicians who faithfully represent their constituents sometimes frustrate majorities. A theory of issue intensity explains how the intensity with which different voters care about political issues drives key features of elections, political participation, representation, and public policy. Because candidates for office are more certain of winning the votes of those who care intensely, they sometimes side with an intense minority over a less intense majority. Voters who care intensely communicate their intensity by taking political action: volunteering, contributing, and speaking out. I blend ideas from democratic theory and formal political economy with new empirical evidence to show when and why politicians sometimes choose to frustrate majorities.

Lunch will be provided

Co-sponsored with the Government Department

Professor Hill studies political participation and vote choice. He is interested in American elections, representation, and citizen learning about politics. His teaching interests include American politics, voting behavior, and political methodology. His published work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, World Politics, among others. He has received grant funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He held a postdoctoral appointment at Yale from 2010 to 2012.

More Upcoming Events