Charnysh, V., L. Peisakhin. Forthcoming. "The Role of Communities in the Transmission of Political Values." The British Journal of Political Science
This article evaluates the role of community bonds in the long-term transmission of political values. At the end of World War II, Poland’s borders shifted westward, and the population from the historical region of Galicia (now partly in Ukraine) was displaced to the territory that Poland acquired from Germany. In a quasi-random process, some migrants settled in their new villages as a majority group, preserving communal ties, while others ended up in the minority. The study leverages this natural experiment of history by surveying the descendants of these Galician migrants. The research design provides an important empirical test of the theorized effect of communities on long-term value transmission, which separates the influence of family and community as two competing and complementary mechanisms. The study finds that respondents in Galicia-majority settlements are now more likely to embrace values associated with Austrian imperial rule and are more similar to respondents whose families avoided displacement.
Charnysh, V. 2019. "Diversity,
Institutions, and Economic Outcomes: Post-WWII Displacement in Poland." American
Political Science Review 113 (12): 423-441.
How does an increase in cultural diversity
affect state–society interactions? Do institutional differences between heterogeneous and homogeneous
communities influence economic activity? I argue that heterogeneity not only impedes informal cooperation
but also increases demand for third-party enforcement provided by the state. Over time, the greater
willingness of heterogeneous communities to engage with state institutions facilitates the accumulation of
state capacity and, in common-interest states, promotes private economic activity. I test this argument
using original data on post-WWII population transfers in Poland. I find that homogeneous migrant
communities were initially more successful in providing local public goods through informal enforcement,
while heterogeneous migrant communities relied on the state for the provision of public goods.
Economically similar during state socialism, heterogeneous communities collected higher tax revenues and
registered higher incomes and entrepreneurship rates following the transition to the market. These
findings challenge the predominant view of diversity as harmful to economic development.
Charnysh, V., E. Finkel. 2017. "The Death Camp
Eldorado: Political and Economic Effects of Mass Violence." American Political
Science Review 111 (4): 801-818.
Transfer and redistribution of wealth accompany
most violent conflicts throughout the world, yet the local-level political and economic effects of this
phenomenon remain unexplored. We address
this omission by examining the long-term impact on the surrounding communities of the Nazi
death camp Treblinka in Poland, where nearly a million Jews were murdered. The assets of murdered
Jews sometimes ended up in the hands of the local population. We are able to identify the enduring
impact of these property transfers on local economic and political outcomes because the exact location
of Treblinka was exogenous to the characteristics of surrounding communities. We find that communities
located closer to the camp experienced a real estate boom but do not exhibit higher levels of economic
and social development. These communities also showed higher support for an anti-Semitic party, the
League of Polish Families. Our findings speak to an important but overlooked challenge to post-conflict
reconstruction and reconciliation.
Charnysh, V., S. Markus. 2017. "The Flexible Few: Oligarchs and
Wealth Defense in Developing Democracies". Comparative Political Studies 50
Based on an original large-N dataset of
individual Ukrainian oligarchs and
qualitative evidence, we test competing perspectives on the political power
of big capital. We find, surprisingly, that neither the assumption of direct
power by the oligarchs, nor the mobility of oligarchic assets, help tycoons
protect their fortunes against shocks. Instead, the indirect strategies of
party support and media ownership significantly enhance business wealth.
Empirically, we profile postcommunist oligarchs by examining the political
and economic activities of 177 Ukrainian oligarchs from 2006 to 2012.
Theoretically, we contribute to the literatures on instrumental and
structural power of capital, and on the interactions between extreme
wealth, rule of law, and democracy. In doing so, we contrast the logic of
flexibility, according to which oligarchs benefit from political adaptability
and deniability, with the logic of commitment compensation, according to
which oligarchs benefit from direct power when the rule of law is weak.
Charnysh, V. 2015. “Historical Legacies of Interethnic
Competition: Anti-Semitism and the EU Referendum in Poland.” Comparative Political
Studies 48 (13): 1711-1745.
How do historical legacies shape contemporary
political outcomes? The article proposes a novel attitudinal mechanism through which distant interethnic
competition can influence political preferences in the present. It theorizes that historically conditioned
predispositions at the local level can moderate the effects of national-level framing of a policy issue.
Using Poland as a test case, I show that subnational variation in support for EU accession was influenced
by populist claims about the increase in Jewish influence in the postaccession period. Anti-Semitic cues
resonated with voters in areas with historically large Jewish populations and a contentious interethnic
past, where latent anti-Semitism persisted throughout the communist period. To provide evidence for this
argument, the article draws on rich historical and contemporary data at the county, town, and individual
level of analysis and utilizes novel research methods.
Charnysh, V., P. Lloyd, B.A. Simmons. 2015. "Frames and Consensus in International Relations: the Case
of Human Trafficking." European Journal of International Relations 21 (2):
This article examines the process of consensus
formation by the international community regarding how to confront the problem of trafficking in persons.
We analyze the corpus of United Nations General Assembly Third Committee resolutions to show that: (1)
consensus around the issue of how to confront trafficking in persons has increased over time; and (2) the
formation of this consensus depends upon how the issue is framed. We test our argument by examining the
characteristics of resolutions’ sponsors and discursive framing concepts such as crime, human rights, and
the strength of enforcement language. We conclude that the consensus-formation process in international
relations is more aptly described as one of ‘accommodation’ through issue linkage than a process of
Charnysh, V., C. Lucas, P. Singh. 2015. “The
Ties that Bind: National Identity Salience and Pro-Social Behavior.” Comparative
Political Studies 48 (3): 267-300.
At the psychological level, ethnic conflict can
be seen as an extreme result of normal group identification processes. Bridging perceived intergroup
boundaries is therefore key to improving intergroup relations. In contrast to the dominant association of
nationalism with racism, chauvinism, xenophobia, and intolerance, we highlight the constructive potential
of national identification. In a survey experiment, we find that the increased salience of a shared
(Indian) national identity increases donations by members of a dominant ethnic group (Hindus) to members
of a rival, minority group (Muslims). This effect is moderated by social status (caste). We suggest that
national identification leads to a greater transformation in the behavior of low-status members of an
ethnic group because they are more likely to be drawn to national identity as an enhancement of their
social standing. Our study has implications for theories of social identity and interethnic cooperation,
as well as for the literature on nationalism.
Charnysh V. 2013. "Identity Mobilization in
Hybrid Regimes: Language in Ukrainian Politics." Nationalities Papers 41 (1) :
In 2012, a new language law in Ukraine allowed
cities and regions to elevate the status of any minority language spoken by at least 10% of their
population to “official” alongside Ukrainian. I argue that the law fails to protect genuine linguistic
minorities and is likely to further undermine linguistic diversity in certain Ukrainian regions. More
important, the law prolongs the vicious circle between Ukraine's lack of democracy and its politicians'
reliance on identity cleavages to gather votes. I argue that the continuing exploitation of identity
divides is increasing the popularity of extreme right parties and widening the gap in policy preferences
between Ukrainian and Russian speakers. However, the current ethno-regional cleavages do not stand for
irreconcilable identity attachments and their impact can be mitigated. The EU could contribute to this
outcome by providing expert opinions on minority and language rights; demonstrating a commitment to
Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence to de-securitize the minority rights discourse; and
increasing individual-level contacts between the EU and Ukraine to promote a broader European identity.
Charnysh, V., B. McElroy. "Explaining outgroup bias in weak states: religion and legibility in the 1891-92 Russian famine." Show abstract
Two dominant explanations for ethnic bias in distributional outcomes are electoral incentives and prejudice against outgroups. The paper proposes a novel, complementary explanation for this phenomenon: variation in legibility across ethnic groups. We argue that states will allocate less to groups from which they cannot gather accurate information and collect taxes. We support this argument using original data on state aid during the 1891-92 famine in the Russian Empire. Qualitative and quantitative analyses show that districts with larger Muslim population, ruled via religious intermediaries, received less generous public assistance and experienced higher famine mortality because they were less legible and generated lower fiscal revenues. Officials withheld aid because they could not verify the needs of the Muslim communities and guarantee the repayment of loans and overdue taxes. State relief did not vary with the presence of other minorities, which were subject to similar prejudices but more legible to the state.
Charnysh, V., D. Ziblatt. "Consequences of Competition Under Autocracy for Democratic Elections: From Imperial to Weimar Germany."
How do authoritarian election practices affect democratic political outcomes? We argue that political parties' uneven access to state resources in a pre-democratic setting has lasting effects on their organizational development and electoral prospects after a democratic transition. When party elites are able to win authoritarian elections by relying on state influence, they under-invest in formal party organization and fail to cultivate stable voter linkages. After a democratic transition, poorly institutionalized parties are less effective at containing internal disagreements and representing their electorates, which undermines their electoral performance and increases voter defections to anti-system parties. We test this argument using an original district-level dataset on electoral disputes in German elections (1871-1933). We show that pro-regime parties' reliance on state influence in some districts in non-democratic elections predicts greater electoral losses by their successor parties, the DNVP and the DVP, after democratization. We also show that during the Great Depression the Nazi Party secured more votes in districts with a history of state-sponsored electoral manipulation. Manipulation by private actors does not seem to have comparable consequences for electoral outcomes, possibly because its determinants, such as control over labor and capital, remain accessible to parties after regime change.
Bollen, P., Charnysh, V. "Dispute Resolution in Heterogeneous Societies."
Across sub-Saharan Africa, formal legal institutions compete with customary institutions for influence. Customary leaders, such as chiefs, have retained considerable powers even in states that abolished or weakened their positions upon gaining independence. Existing research attributes the resilience of customary institutions to the tenacity of precolonial ethnic institutions, the legacies of chief empowerment by colonial powers, and weak state capacity. We instead advance a novel demand-side explanation for the subnational variation in reliance on state and customary institutions for dispute resolution. We hypothesize that reliance on customary institutions decreases with local ethnic heterogeneity because communal leaders are less equipped to sanction opportunistic behavior and resolve disputes across ethnic group boundaries and because neocustomary law typically disadvantages ethnic outsiders. We support the hypothesis using data from Afrobarometer Rounds 4 and 5. We also present a design for an experiment in Ghana that aims to evaluate the causal effect of coethnicity and heterogeneity on dispute resolution preferences and to explore the underlying mechanisms.
Charnysh, V. “Remembering past atrocities – good or bad for attitudes toward minorities?” Show abstract
Discrediting racial hatred and political extremism is one of the explicit aims of commemorating the Holocaust. And yet, remembering the difficult past does not always produce the
intended consequences because political actors can challenge the narrative to advance their goals. In particular, right-wing populist movements often counter historical accounts of past
atrocities in potentially damaging ways by portraying their own nations as victims rather than perpetrators. The chapter presents the results of an online survey experiment in Poland on how contestation of the Holocaust narrative affects xenophobic and exclusionist views. I find that while uncontested narratives about ingroup wrongdoing (massacre of Jews by Poles in
Jedwabne) can reduce ethnocentric beliefs, countering the perpetrator narratives with a victimhood story (massacre of Poles by Ukrainians in Volhynia) weakens this effect and also lowers support for minority rights. I also find that the Holocaust narrative, contested or uncontested, does not affect anti-Semitic or pluralist attitudes.
Charnysh, V. “The Enemy Within: Divisive Political Discourse in Modern Poland.”