Frannie Zlotnick

Department of Political Science

Conditional Priming Effects in Interest Group Rhetoric (2014-2015)


How do the characteristics of members condition the ability of interest groups to cultivate public support for their goals? My research examines the interaction of common interest group rhetoric with the race and gender of group representatives. Building on experiments previously completed in the domain of organized labor, this project explores whether the persuasiveness of arguements relating to gun control is conditional on the race and gender of the speaker. I experimentally test whether common pro-gun arguments elicit varying levels of support when employed by speakers with varying characteristics. I hypothesize that rhetoric that either primes negative stereotypes associated with a group, or that signals violation of prescriptive norms of behavior, will be associated with lower levels of persuasion than rhetoric that signals conformation to prescriptive norms and avoids priming negative stereotypes.


Who Represents the Labor Movement? Implications of Demographic Change On Public Support and Institutional Power of Labor in American Politics (2012-2013)


The American labor movement has experienced remarkable changes over the past half century. Social, political, and economic changes have dramatically shifted the occupational and demographic characteristics of workers represented by labor unions. Once overwhelmingly manual and manufacturing workers, today labor is predominantly made up of employees in the service and public sectors. Long standing patterns of occupational segregation, coupled with variation in the legal regime regulating collective bargaining across industries and states mean that organized labor increasingly represents, and is represented, by female and nonwhite workers. My research explores the political implications of this demographic change. I argue that this change has diminished labor’s bargaining power within the Democratic party, reducing labor’s ability to promote redistributive policies and contributing to the growth in economic inequality during the second half of the twentieth century. The research supported by the Lab has tested one mechanism for this effect. Through a set of survey experiments, I test whether demographic characteristics of union members, and associated stereotypes and behavioral norms, affect Americans’ support for labor actions.