Yuko Sato is a visiting scholar at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) at Tulane University and a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on popular protests, voting behavior, democratization, with a regional focus on Latin America.
Her dissertation, Crisis of Democracy: Protest and Affective Polarization, systematically examines the relationship between political protests and mass polarization in democracies. Her central argument is that protests serve as a focal event that may change voters’ perceptions. In her dissertation, she seeks to expand psychological approaches to mass polarization by theorizing and testing how political protest may enhance individual partisan identities. Specifically, she considers how exposure to protest activates and reinforces pre-existing partisan identities- including positive and negative- and ultimately triggers to affective polarization. She utilizes a range of quantitative analyses, including time-series and cross-national studies and survey analysis with a natural experiment, to study the effect of protest on the level of polarization cross- and sub-nationally. She also triangulates quantitative methods with qualitative data gathered during her fieldwork in Brazil.
Yuko’s research has been supported by the Kinder Institute of Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri, and the K. Matsushita Memorial Foundation. She has published articles in Electoral Studies and Democratization.