Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Jin, Rongbo, Alexander Cloudt, Seoungin Choi, Joy Jia, and Samara Klar. The Policy Blame Game: How Polarization Distorts Democratic Accountability across the Local, State, and Federal Level. State Politics & Policy Quarterly


Democratic accountability relies on voters to punish their representatives for policies they dislike. Yet, a separation-of-powers system can make it hard to know who is to blame, and partisan biases further distort voters’ evaluations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, precautionary policies were put into place sometimes by governors, sometimes by mayors, and sometimes by no one at all, allowing us to identify when voters hold out-party versus in-party politicians responsible for policies. With a survey spanning 48 states, we test our theory that attitudes toward policies and parties intersect to determine when selective attribution takes place. We find that as individuals increasingly oppose a policy, they are more likely to blame whichever level of government is led by the out-party. This is most pronounced among partisans with strong in-party biases. We provide important insight into the mechanisms that drive selective attribution and the conditions under which democratic accountability is at risk.

Gonzalez, Frank, Rongbo Jin, Ianne Wang. Racial and ethnic variation in the negativity bias–ideology connection: A registered report. Politics and Life Sciences.


This is a registered report for a study of racial and ethnic variation in the relationship between negativity bias and political attitudes. Pioneering work on the psychological and biological roots of political orientation has suggested that political conservatism is driven in large part by enhanced negativity bias. This work has been criticized on several theoretical fronts, and recent replication attempts have failed. To dig deeper into the contours of when (and among whom) negativity bias predicts conservatism, we investigate a surprisingly overlooked factor in existing literature: race and ethnicity. We propose that political issues represent threat or disgust in different ways depending on one’s race and ethnicity. We recruited 174 White, Latinx, and Asian American individuals (in equal numbers) to examine how the relationship between negativity bias and political orientation varies by race/ethnicity across four domains: policing/criminal justice, immigration, economic redistribution, and religious social conservatism

Working Papers

Jin, Rongbo, and Frank Gonzalez. Complexities of the Status-Legitimacy Hypothesis: Authoritarian Personality and System Justification Across Class.

Jin, Rongbo, and Chad Westerland. Judicial Sorting: Polarized Attitudes Towards the US Supreme Court.