The Volatility of Political Attachments: A Panel Study of Mexicans

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
Grant Year

This pilot study has two aims that will constitute preliminary findings for an externally funded study of Mexican adults. First, political volatility in developing countries is a known obstacle to development broadly construed. Instability in voter attachments to political parties undermines the quality of representation, the stability of policy-making, and the durability of democracy. This year-long pilot study of a representative population of the greater Mexico City area will be the longest known panel design in the developing world, and will yield new insights into how individuals change over time. The results, conditional on low attrition, will be valuable in themselves. Second, this study constitutes a pilot to test interventions designed to minimize attrition. Long panels are rare in the developing world because populations are hard to track over time. For example, low literacy, high mobility (ex: between the city and the village), low cell-phone penetration, and high levels of distrust (ex: fear of extortion) lead to high expected attrition. We aim to deliver preliminary results which demonstrate methods for reducing attrition. We will use these results to approach an external funder for support of a nationally representative sample of Mexicans using a two-year panel (2020-2021) that treats many additional development themes.