Covid Crisis Lab - Seminar Series - Delia Baldassarri

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COVID CRISIS LAB Seminar Series 2024 — Spring edition

Delia Baldassarri, “Seeing, not Avoiding the Other Side: The Persistent Role of Social Network Heterogeneity in an Era of Partisan Politics” 



Do heterogeneous political networks still contain out-partisan hostility in the contemporary US context of heightened partisanship? Today, cross-partisan conversations may no longer lead to greater understanding, and people could be exiting the very same heterogeneous networks that are supposed to buffer against animosity. We use two original surveys including several experiments to test whether partisanship affects social selection, and whether heterogeneous political networks inoculate against partisan animosity. We find that both close and acquaintance networks still display substantial levels of political heterogeneity. Partisanship is not top of mind in social selection, but partisans use it when they are provided with information about it. Finally, network heterogeneity is strongly related to lower animosity, less selection on partisanship, and fewer misperceptions about the other side. These results suggest that decades of partisan animosity have not yet irreparably damaged social relations in the United States.


Delia Baldassarri is Professor at New York University, with appointments in Sociology, Politics, and Management. Her research interests are in the fields of economic and political sociology, social networks, and analytical sociology. Her current research projects include a study of the emergence of cooperation in complex societies, focusing on ethnically heterogeneous communities, and the investigation of major trends in U.S. public opinion. Her work has appeared in leading journals, among which Science, PNAS, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and American Journal of Political Science.


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