Speaker: Paul Schuler (Political Science at the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy, SGPP)
Title: Pillars of the Community: A Field Experiment on Party Member Incentives for Community Activism in Vietnam
Abstract: Are party members in single-party regimes more motivated to help their communities than non-party members? While existing research argues that party members are either ideological or careerist, we theorize that party members may also be motivated to help local communities. We argue that party members may exhibit greater community-oriented behavior through three potential mechanisms: 1) party selection; 2) self-selection; and 3) party socialization. Using a randomized controlled trial of women in Vietnam, party members are 10 percent more likely to participate in group-oriented training program when primed by collective incentives than non-party members. Party members are no more likely to join under other incentives. We bolster these findings with qualitative and survey data showing that men and women party members are more likely to have purposive motivations. These findings suggest that in parties that rely on performance legitimacy rather than ideology, activists in the party may be especially community-minded.
Short Bio: Paul Schuler is an associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy. He has written extensively about Vietnam and its political institutions. Most recently, he published United Front: Projecting Solidary Through Deliberation in Vietnam’s Single-Party Legislature with Stanford University Press. His current projects involve gender and participation in Vietnam and personality cults.