The Political Context of Tolerance: The United States and Israel

Michal Shamir, John Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This article extends recent work on political tolerance to a cross-national context. In it we argue that a content-controlled measurement strategy is ideal for cross-cultural research, and we examine the dual processes of target group selection and of deciding the extent to which one tolerates target groups, once they are selected. We argue that the first process is rooted in concerns of social adjustment, and the second in externalization and object appraisal. This leads to a certain set of predictions, which we modify slightly when we combine this social psychological theory with a cross-national research design, one we ultimately label a modified most-different-systems design. The same individual level model is estimated on the U.S. and on the Israeli data, and the results suggest that although the social and psychological processes underlying political tolerance are very similar in the two contexts, there are significant political differences between the two nations which do affect the impact of individual-level variables on tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-928
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1983
Externally publishedYes


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