, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 23-51
Date: 02 Apr 2013

Cross Pressure Scores: An Individual-Level Measure of Cumulative Partisan Pressures Arising from Social Group Memberships

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Early studies of voting behavior hypothesized that the degree to which an individual was “cross-pressured” might affect how she participates in politics. However, attention to this topic waned before returning in recent years, mainly within the narrower confines of social networks analysis. In an effort to encourage broader consideration of the role of cross-pressures in political behavior, we present a new approach to estimating cross-pressures that (1) is individual-specific, (2) reflects the cumulative cross-pressures faced by an individual from her many intersecting social strata and group memberships, irrespective of the mechanism by which those pressures are experienced, and (3) can be estimated using widely-available data in party systems of any size, thus making it easier to study the effect of cross-pressures cross-nationally and over time. We demonstrate that these estimates are robust to many estimation choices, correspond well to existing measures of cross-pressures, and are correlated with patterns of political engagement and participation predicted by extant theories.