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Title Resisting “Broken Windows:” The causal effect of neighborhood disorder on political participation.
Post date 06/14/2018
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale This study leverages the emergency closing Long Island bridge in Boston Harbor, and the subsequent transfer of the homeless shelter and drug abuse facilities on the island to the Boston Medical Center area, to test the response of neighborhood residents to increased neighborhood disorder. Since the increase in neighborhood disorder was not a function of changing behavior of long-time neighborhood residents, but an invasion of the underclass from elsewhere in the city of Boston, we expect long-time neighborhood residents to be mobilized to protect their neighborhood. As a result, we expect their political participation to increase in response to the threat of neighborhood disorder. We further expect that neighborhood residents will feel the most threatened, and be the most spurred to political action, the closer they live to the source of neighborhood change. These hypotheses build on theories of political action in response to the desire for neighborhood improvement, and in response to changes in social geography, driven by threat response or NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitudes.
C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested? Exposure to increased neighborhood disorder, disorder that is increased by an influx of individuals from outside the community, will spur neighborhood political participation in response to the threat. Therefore, after the closing of the Long Island bridge, turnout should increase for voters who live proximate to the sites that saw a sharp increase in neighborhood disorder. The level of perceived threat and experienced disorder should be a function of proximity to the affected sites. As such, we anticipate that the treatment effect should be smaller for voters who live farther away from the sites. The quantities of interest we will be estimating are the average treatment effect of changes in turnout for three sets of elections (and the analogous feasible average treatment effect when matching is employed). This quantity represents, on average, changes in individual-level voter turnout change for those proximate to sites, in comparison to those further away from the sites.
C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? * To test these hypotheses, we leverage individual level, geo-coded voting and public service request data to compare political participation from before and after the Long Island bridge closing. Through a difference in differences design, we compare temporal changes in political behavior between city residents who live close to the affected sites to those who live further away from the sites. Through this analysis we can test theories of political participation in response to local neighborhood changes, and attitudinal responses to exposure to poverty, crime, and neighborhood disorder.
C4 Country United States of America
C5 Scale (# of Units) The sample is the number of voters in the city of Boston (N= 368,768)
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? not provided by authors
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Researchers
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors