Focus areas: Syrian refugee reactions to international intervention in the Syrian civil war, clientelism and ethnic and tribal politics, anti-Americanism in the Arab world

Daniel Corstange's teaching focus is political development, ethnic politics, and research methods. He previously taught at the University of Maryland, and was a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Corstange holds a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and a BA in political science and history from Northwestern University.

Research & Publications

December 2016|Comparative Political Studies|Daniel Corstange
September 2016|Cambridge Series in Comparative Politics|Daniel Corstange

The Price of a Vote in the Middle East

November 2012|International Journal of Middle East Studies |Daniel Corstange

Vote buying and vote selling are prominent features of electoral politics in Lebanon. This article investigates how vote trafficking works in Lebanese elections and examines how electoral rules and practices contribute to wide and lively vote markets. Using original survey data from the 2009 parliamentary elections, it studies vote selling with a list experiment, a question technique designed to elicit truthful answers to sensitive questions. The data show that over half of the Lebanese sold their votes in 2009. Moreover, once we come to grips with the sensitivity of the topic, the data show that members of all sectarian communities and political alliances sold their votes at similar rates.

November 2012|American Journal of Political Science |Daniel Corstange, Nikolay Marinov

What do voters think when outside powers become de facto participants in a country’s election? We conceptualize two types of foreign intervention: a partisan stance, where the outsider roots for a particular candidate slate, and a process stance, where outsiders support the democratic process. We theorize that a partisan outside message will polarize partisan actors domestically on the issue of appropriate relations with the outsiders: partisans who are supported will want closer relations with the outside power, and partisans who are opposed will favor more distant relations. A process message, in contrast, will have a moderating effect on voters’ attitudes. We present evidence of partisan polarization along those lines from a survey experiment we conducted in Lebanon in the wake of the 2009 parliamentary elections. We discuss the implications of our findings for future studies of how outsiders can encourage moderate electoral outcomes in democratizing states.

November 2012|World Politics|Daniel Corstange

This article examines mass public discourse on religion and pluralism in diverse societies. It argues that religion enters the public sphere by defining countervailing narratives about sectarianism, which is exclusive and divisive, and ecumenicism, which is inclusive and unifying. Most empirical studies focus on elites as the producers of discourse and ignore the regular people who comprise the “real” public. In contrast to prior work, this article systematically examines mass public discourse, with Lebanon, a religiously diverse developing world society, as its research venue. It uses a novel combination of original survey data and publicly displayed religious and political iconography to study the exchange of ideas about religion and pluralism among the mass public. It shows that sectarian discourse articulates ethnocentric and antiplural statements, whereas ecumenicism, by contrast, mitigates ethnocentrism and valorizes pluralism.

November 2010|Electoral Studies |Daniel Corstange

On June 7, 2009, Lebanon went to the polls to elect a new parliament after an eventful four years since the 2005 elections, held in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the Syrian armed forces from Lebanon after nearly thirty years of occupation. These events included numerous political assassinations, a month-long war between Israel and Hizballah's militia, a lengthy closing of parliament by the opposition-aligned speaker which created a constitutional vacuum when the parliament could not convene to elect a new president, a Hizballah-led takeover of West Beirut in May 2008, and the subsequent Doha Agreement that produced a national unity government, a new president, and a new election law. After a formal two-month campaign period, the governing “March 14” coalition – a loose amalgamation of parties and personalities that spearheaded the anti-Syrian movement in 2005 – managed to defeat the opposition “March 8” alliance and retain their parliamentary majority by winning 55% of the seats in 2009, almost exactly the same percentage as in 2005.

November 2009|Political Analysis |Daniel Corstange

Standard estimation procedures assume that empirical observations are accurate reflections of the true values of the dependent variable, but this assumption is dubious when modeling self-reported data on sensitive topics. List experiments (a.k.a. item count techniques) can nullify incentives for respondents to misrepresent themselves to interviewers, but current data analysis techniques are limited to difference-in-means tests. I present a revised procedure and statistical estimator called LISTIT that enable multivariate modeling of list experiment data. Monte Carlo simulations and a field test in Lebanon explore the behavior of this estimator.

November 2009|Al-Masar |Daniel Corstange
November 2007|PS: Political Science and Politics |Daniel Corstange

Does the fallout from the now infamous Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad reflect inherent mass radicalism or irrationality on the part of Muslim societies? Judging from the news coverage broadcast to Western audiences, one would think so. Most media images focused on bearded men or veiled women demonstrating and burning flags reinforced by dramatic sound bites, as when the usually sober BBC (2006) cited one protester as saying: “They want to test our feelings. They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and their newspapers.” These reactions seemed disproportionate, if not irrational, because of the medium: they were, after all, just drawings.