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Persuasive PeersSocial Communication and Voting in Latin America$
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Andy Baker, Barry Ames, and Lúcio Rennó

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691205779

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691205779.001.0001

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Discussion, Societal Exclusion, and Political Voice

Discussion, Societal Exclusion, and Political Voice

(p.207) 8 Discussion, Societal Exclusion, and Political Voice
Persuasive Peers

Andy Baker

Barry Ames

Lúcio Rennó

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the implications of horizontal intermediation for the normative issues of the quality and equity of political voice. Because its monetary costs are virtually nil, the realm of horizontal intermediation could be a haven for under-resourced and marginalized groups. The analyses of data from the panel studies and the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP), however, show that political discussion in seven Latin American countries suffers from an exclusion problem. Individuals of high socioeconomic status (SES) are much more likely to discuss politics than individuals of lower status, and men discuss politics more than women. This has concrete consequences, as high-SES individuals and men have more political knowledge than low-SES individuals and women, respectively. The chapter then considers whether these inequalities distort the political voice of marginalized groups. In Brazil and Mexico, the degree of engagement in horizontal intermediation is positively correlated with voters' abilities to choose the candidates who best represent their issue attitudes. Because of this correlation, the poor are sometimes less likely than the rich to choose candidates who support their expressed values and beliefs about politics and policies. Moreover, the emergence of socially informed preferences during a campaign does not move voters toward their correct candidates.

Keywords:   horizontal intermediation, political voice, marginalized groups, political discussion, Latin American countries, high-SES individuals, political knowledge, socially informed preferences, Latin American voters

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