My research has two prongs. First, it investigates the conditions under which citizens desire democracy for their country and are satisfied with the democracy that their country has. For a democracy to persist, it must have a reserve of public satisfaction and commitment that will sustain the system through electoral defeat and economic downtown. All losers — political, economic, and social — can try to overturn the apple cart. Using surveys from multiple countries, I consider the role positive and negative partisanship, perceptions of party diversity, and understanding of democracy play in democratic satisfaction and commitment.
Second, it examines the mechanisms by which state policies shape inhabitants' religious behavior and how religiosity impacts citizens' liberal and democratic attitudes. While the connection between religion and the state has featured prominently in scholarship of the Middle East, a resurgence of literature has recognized that "secular" democracies are not immune from religious influence or a desire to influence religions or religious communities. In my work, I show that state policies can influence popular levels of religious observance. I am particularly concerned with the globally-pervasive practice of legislating compliance with religious law and the impact of secularist orientation on support for election-based government.
Aldrich, John, Gregory Austin Bussing, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Nicolas Madan, Katelyn Mehling Ice, Kristen M. Renberg, and Hannah M. Ridge. 2020. “Does a Partisan Public Increase Democratic Stability?” Research Handbook of Political Partisanship.
Religion and Politics
Ridge, Hannah M. forthcoming. “State Regulation of Religion: The Effect of Religious Freedom on Muslims' Religiosity.” Religion, State and Society, 48.
Ridge, Hannah M. 2019. “Effect of Religious Legislation on Religious Behavior: The Ramadan Fast." Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 15.
My dissertation project, "Political and Economic Understandings of Democracy and Support for Democratization in the Middle East," demonstrates that the way in which citizens conceive of democracy as a system influences their level of commitment to electoral democracy in general and for their country. While a procedural understanding of democracy prevails in most of the world, economic understandings of democracy are prevalent throughout the Middle East/North Africa. The dissertation follows a three-article framework and builds on original surveys conducted in Egypt and Morocco. The first section considers which populations are more likely to understand democracy as a political structure, rather than an economic one. The second focuses on the relationship between this understanding and democratic commitment. The third section features a conjoint experiment to identify the most salient features of a potential regime: the opportunities for political participation, the financial outcomes it generates, and the role religion plays in the state. Individuals with different understandings of democracy value different features in choosing a potential government structure. I will defend the completed dissertation in the Spring of 2021.