Expressive Politics as (Costly) Norm-Following
59 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2016 Last revised: 27 Nov 2020
Date Written: October 1, 2020
When deciding whether to support a political candidate, policy or cause, individuals are observed to prioritize the expression of their political identities. They even knowingly incur personal costs (a lower wage, strained family relations) to do so. We argue that viewing political identities as social identities that impart norms on who or what one ought to support can help explain such costly political expression. Through population-based survey experiments, we show that individuals are aware of the norms attached to their political identities; will knowingly choose norm-compliance at personal cost; and that this costly political identity expression varies with norm salience and strength. Our results imply that as political identities strengthen, group norm compliance will increase, even at a cost, rendering compromise between political groups less likely.
Keywords: norms, identity, political expression, experiments
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