When the Church Votes Left: The Electoral Consequences of Progressive Religion


Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Tunon Topic ImageSpeaker: Guadalupe Tuñón, Academy Scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University

How do progressive religious leaders shape the objectives and electoral fortunes of the left? I argue that church leaders who advance doctrinal interpretations that favor progressive economic policies will mobilize their adherents in support of the left, as long as doing so does not advance policies that contradict the church’s moral agenda. I test this argument using original archival data from the Catholic Church and drawing on a natural experiment in Brazil after Pope John Paul II’s appointment in 1978.

Guadalupe Tuñón is an Academy Scholar at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Her research interests span comparative politics and political economy. Her book project studies how religious ideas shape the electoral influence of religious actors, with a focus on the influence of the Catholic Church in Latin America.