Peer-Reviewed Publications

Mor, Maayan. 2022. "Government Policies, New Voter Coalitions, and the Emergence of Ethnic Dimension in Party Systems." World Politics 74(1): 121-66. [Paper][Supplementary Materials]

Conventional theories of ethnic politics argue that political entrepreneurs form ethnic parties where there is ethnic diversity. Yet empirical research finds that diversity is a weak predictor for the success of ethnic parties. When does ethnicity become a major element of party competition? Scholars have explained the emergence of an ethnic dimension in party systems as the result of institutions, mass organizations, and elite initiatives. But these factors can evolve in response to an emerging ethnic coalition of voters. I advance a new theory: ethnic cleavages emerge when voters seek to form a parliamentary opposition to government policies that create grievances along ethnic identities. The theory is tested on rare cases of government policies in Prussia between 1848 and 1874 that aggrieved Catholics but were not based on existing policies or initiated by entrepreneurs to encourage ethnic competition. Using process tracing, case comparisons, and statistical analysis of electoral returns, I show that Catholics voted together when aggrieved by policies, regardless of the actions of political entrepreneurs. In contrast, when policies were neutral to Catholics, the Catholic party dissolved.

Bhavnani, Ravi, Karsten Donnay, Dan Miodownik, Maayan Mor, and Dirk Helbing. 2014. "Group Segregation and Urban Violence." American Journal of Political Science 58(1): 226-45. [Paper][Supplementary Materials]

  • Winner of the AJPS Best Article Award 2014

How does segregation shape intergroup violence in contested urban spaces? Should nominal rivals be kept separate or instead more closely integrated? We develop an empirically grounded agent-based model to understand the sources and patterns of violence in urban areas, employing Jerusalem as a demonstration case and seeding our model with microlevel, geocoded data on settlement patterns. An optimal set of parameters is selected to best fit the observed spatial distribution of violence in the city, with the calibrated model used to assess how different levels of segregation, reflecting various proposed "virtual futures" for Jerusalem, would shape violence. Our results suggest that besides spatial proximity, social distance is key to explaining conflict over urban areas: arrangements conducive to reducing the extent of intergroup interactions—including localized segregation, limits on mobility and migration, partition, and differentiation of political authority—can be expected to dampen violence, although their effect depends decisively on social distance.

Papers in progress

Mor, Maayan and Carles Boix. "Social Democracy and the Birth of Working-Class Representation in Europe"

(working paper available upon request)

Despite the growing interest in the change to the class background of MPs in contemporary Western Europe, the institutional conditions that made it possible for working-class candidates to win office before 1945 are still not systematically studied. Using data from Britain (1832-1944), Germany (1871-1930), and Norway (1906-1936), we find that the first working-class MPs were elected when barriers to entry were lowered and that almost all working-class MPs were affiliated with a socialist party. We further probe the conditions that explain the electoral fortunes of working-class candidates using data about the class backgrounds of all candidates in Norway between 1906-1936 and information about the occupational profile of constituencies and union density. We find that the underrepresentation of workers was not due to the short supply of working-class candidates and that even after Norway adopted proportional representation, workers were still disadvantaged compared to non-workers within the socialist party. Further, we find that party leaders strategically placed working-class candidates in relatively safe seats when electoral competition was low and union density was high, and in competitive races where the share of manual workers was low, arguably to boost turnout among workers. We discuss the implications of these findings to research about the electoral strategies of socialist parties, the numerical representation of workers, and minority representation more broadly.

Mor, Maayan. "Government Policies, Interest Groups, and the Structure of Party Competition"

Lipset and Rokkan’s seminal work argued that the structure of European party systems was determined by large-scale conflicts and by the temporal sequence of the conflicts. Although Belgium had the social divisions and the political tensions to develop the four cleavages mentioned by Lipset and Rokkan, only two of the structural conditions were translated into political parties and a third conflict was represented by a pressure group that remained extra-parliamentary. This paper uses new data from Belgium to re-examine the formation of the party system in one of Stein Rokkan’s most studied cases. Using new data about constituencies’ occupational and linguistic profile, party appeals, and party vote shares, I trace the formation of the Belgian party system from 1830 to 1910. I find that when social groups could represent their interests using pressure groups, they did not form new parties. I also find that although the ethno-linguistic tensions were not represented by a particular political party, they shaped the social bases of all parties by creating incentives for existing parties to respond to voters and adopt positions on the ethno-linguistic issue. This paper offers an explanation to when large-scale conflicts do not cause the formation of new parties and demonstrates the importance of accounting for intersections between salient electoral issues when explaining the development of European party systems.

Boix, Carles and Maayan Mor. "Sequences of Cleavage Formation and Party System Development in Germany"

We offer a new explanation for the development of party systems in Europe. The interests of social groups drove the formation of parties and the structure of party systems was determined by the permissiveness of the electoral rules, social groups’ preferences over policies, and prior partisan mobilization. We demonstrate this argument using a new comprehensive dataset of German elections and information about constituencies’ religious and occupational profile. Using this dataset, we examine the development of the social bases of German political parties from 1871 to 1932. We show that the party system emerged in two phases. First, when religious and ideological groups organized against government policies that encroached on their rights and conflicted with their interests, and second, when the socialist party, the SPD, was allowed to compete in elections starting in 1890. After the rise of the SPD, the German party system was effectively divided into a northern Protestant system where the SPD competed with liberal and conservative parties and a south-western Catholic system where party competition was between the Catholic party (Zentrum) and liberal and conservative parties. Once formed, the dual party-system remained remarkably stable through World War I and despite the hyperinflation crisis of the 1920s. We conclude with a discussion about the lessons we can derive from the German case to explain the development of party systems in neighboring countries that share structural similarties with Germany.