Mollie J. Cohen

Peer Reviewed Publications

Cohen, Mollie J. and Zach Warner. "How to Get Better Survey Data More Efficiently." Forthcoming, Political Analysis


Cohen, Mollie J. "Citizen Approval of Monetary- vs Goods-For-Votes Exchanges." Forthcoming, Journal of Experimental Political Science


Cohen, Mollie J., Facundo Salles Kobilanski and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. 2018. "Electoral Volatility in Latin America." The Journal of Politics,  80(3): 1017-1022.

            Supplementary information and replication code.


Cohen, Mollie J. 2018. "A Dynamic Model of the Invalid Vote: How a Changing Candidate Menu Shapes Null Voting Behavior." Electoral Studies, 53: 111-121.

            Supplementary information and replication code.

Cohen, Mollie J. 2018. "Protest Via the Null Ballot: An Assessment of the Decision to Cast an Invalid Vote in Latin America." Political Behavior, 40: 395-414. DOI: 10.1007/s11109-017-9405-9
            Supplementary information and replication code. Data available from the AmericasBarometer.

Cohen, Mollie J. and Amy Erica Smith. 2016. "Do Authoritarians Vote for Authoritarians? Evidence from Latin America." Research and Politics. DOI: 10.1177/2053168016684066
            Replication code. Data available from the AmericasBarometer.


Manuscripts in Submission


"Vote Buying and Trust in Elections in the Americas." With Liz Zechmeister and Eui Young Noh


"The Dawn of the Culture Wars? Demographic Polarization in the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Election." With Matthew L. Layton, Mason W. Moseley and Amy Erica Smith


"Knowledge of Tuberculosis Increases Disease Stigma in Brazil." With Peter Rebeiro, Heather Ewing, Kleydson Bonfim Andrade, Marshall Eakin, Timothy Sterling, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister



Works in Progress


None of the Above: Protest Voting in Latin American Democracies (Book manuscript)


Why do citizens turn out to vote but then intentionally refuse to select a candidate? When do politicians or citizen groups mobilize invalid votes, and to what effect? What consequences does protest voting have for democratic legitimacy? This book project answers these questions.  First, I challenge conventional wisdom that most invalid votes represent voter error or a disavowal of democracy, and use public opinion data from surveys and focus groups to show that most invalid votes in Latin American executive elections are cast in protest of candidate options. Second, I develop theory suggesting campaigns mobilizing invalid voting will be more likely to succeed when they are organized by non-elites around pro-democratic aims. I test the theory’s implications and micro-foundations using data from a broad sample of elections and national contexts. Third, I show that widespread protest voting can shore up democratic legitimacy rather than undermine it, as those who invalidate their ballots affirm their commitment to democracy by participating in the system while venting their frustrations.


"Reducing Non-Response for Vote Choice using Sensitive Survey Item Techniques." With Kaitlen J. Cassell (Working paper)


"Predicting the Success of Organized Protest Campaigns." (Working paper)


“Winner’s Consent? Democratic Legitimacy when Authoritarianism is on the Ballot.” With Matthew L. Layton, Mason M. Moseley, and Amy Erica Smith (Working paper)

“Patterns and Implications of Data Fabrication: Evidence from a National Survey in Venezuela.” With Oscar Castorena, Noam Lupu, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister (Working paper)

“Mosquito Politics: The Zika Epidemic and Abortion Attitudes in Brazil.” With Claire Q. Evans (Working paper)



Research Reports and Chapters

Latin American Views on Abortion in the Shadow of the Zika Epidemic.” With Claire Q. Evans. AmericasBarometer Topical Brief No. 33 (2018)

"Blaming the Victim: Knowledge of Tuberculosis is Associated with Greater Stigma in Brazil." With Heather Ewing, Marshall Eakin, Timothy Sterling, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Insights No. 131 (2018)

"Measuring Political Knowledge in the AmericasBarometer." With Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Methodological Note No. 003 (2018)

"Assessing and Improving Interview Quality in the 2016/17 AmericasBarometer." With Sebastian Larrea. AmericasBarometer Methodological Note No. 002 (2018)

"Democracy and Governance in the Americas: Key Findings from LAPOP’s AmericasBarometer." With Elizabeth J. Zechmeister and Noam Lupu. AmericasBarometer Topical Brief No. 30 (2017)

"Support for Electoral Democracy in the Americas.” Chapter in Eds. Cohen, Mollie J., Noam Lupu, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. 2017. The Political Culture of Democracy in the Americas: A Comparative Study of Democracy and Governance. 

Here’s what citizens who vote for authoritarians have in common.” With Amy Erica Smith, The Monkey Cage Blog, The Washington Post, November 2, 2016.

Declining Trust in Parties Likely to Increase Already-High Invalid Voting Rates in Peru’s National Elections.” AmericasBarometer Topical Brief No. 26 (2016)

Who is Interested in Politics?” With Ariel Helms, Hillary Rosenjack, Kelly Schultz, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Insights No. 126 (2016)

Who Approves of Those Who Block Roads to Protest in the Americas?” With Christine Huang, Susan Ma, Kyle Uber, Lauren White, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Insights No. 121 (2015)

Low Levels of External Efficacy Can be Improved by Government efforts to Deliver Better Outcomes.” With Hannury Lee, Ginny Randall, Jackson Vaught, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Insights No. 115 (2015)

Effort Trumps Output in Predicting Satisfaction with Democracy.” With Kristina Bergmann, Kelly Perry, Kevin Zhang and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. AmericasBarometer Insights No. 117 (2015)

Those with darker skin report slower police response time in the Americas.” With Elizabeth J. Zechmeister and Mitchell A. Seligson, AmericasBarometer Topical Brief  No. 16 (2015) [also published at The Monkey Cage Blog, The Washington Post, February 9, 2015]

Explaining Support for Interethnic Marriage in Four Countries.” AmericasBarometer Insights No. 77 (2012)

“Double Jeopardy: How U.S. Enforcement Policies Shape Tunkaseño Migration.” With Jonathan Hicken and Jorge Narvaez, in Cornelius, Wayne A. et al. (2010). Mexican Migration and the U.S. Economic Crisis: A Transnational Perspective. Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, San Diego, CA.