The P3 lab is a research lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara dedicated to examining the way civic and political organizations can make the participation of ordinary people Possible, Probable, and Powerful. We focus on a wide range of issues, but look particularly at environmental, racial, and economic justice issues. Check out information below about some of our ongoing projects.
When Movements Build Power: Leadership, Strategy, and Organization in Four American States, 2001-2018
In the fall of 2016, the Democracy Research Collaborative of the New Venture Fund funded a study by the P3 lab to examine the structures and processes through which movement organizations leverage resources to build political power.
Hahrie is working with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and the PICO National Network on multi-year field experiments designed to study the effects of integrated voter engagement (IVE) models. As described in PICO’s 2015 report on its Let My People Vote program, IVE sits at the intersection of voter engagement and issue-based organizing. The goal of IVE programs is not just to win elections, but also to strengthen democracy, by building the power of constituencies to govern between elections and secure policy wins that reflect their interests. These IVE studies are designed to build our understanding of how specific practices affect turnout, especially among low-propensity voters, but also to look at the impact of organizing on voters’ and volunteers’ sense of agency and political efficacy (which are key determinants of long term civic engagement), how to increase our collective capacity to organize across race, gender and other differences, and how to translate the power built during elections into far-reaching policy change.
Hahrie is working with Nate Deshmukh Towery and UCSB graduate student Aaron Sparks to analyze data on people’s pathways into environmental activism. What kinds of experiences catalyze people into activism? What is the relationship between online and offline activity? This project will describe patterns of activism within one major international environmental organization, to examine how people engage with the organization after joining. Read the paper here.
This paper examines the role that democratic organizations play in fostering political activism in America. Activists make democracy work by attending meetings, engaging others, trying to make their voice heard, and participating in myriad other ways. Yet we have a limited understanding of what role organizations play in cultivating that activism. The paper presents data from three field experiments showing that creating a relational organizational context makes targets more likely to sign petitions, recruit others, and attend meetings. The paper argues that civic organizations can have a powerful impact on activism. In doing so, it challenges individualistic models of participation and introduces a new set of variables related to organizational context to consider in understanding the sources of participation. The paper thus extends a burgeoning body of experimental research on voter mobilization to examine forms of activism that are increasingly common modes of citizen involvement in the twenty-first century.
Hahrie was invited to undertake a systemic review of the Ford Foundation's initiative on Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation in the United States. The Ford Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the US, is undergoing a major redesign of its overall grant-making strategy in an effort to make its work more relevant to 21st century challenges, focusing particularly on inequality. As part of this redesign, the Foundation asked Han to review work it has done to "(1) secure sustained increases in civic participation within historically disenfranchised communities...and (2) to build and strengthen vehicles of collective action that contest for power and increase meaningful participation in elections and other aspects of civic life." Hahrie is working with UCSB graduate student Lisa Argyle on this project. See a blogpost from the Ford Foundation describing the project here.
Hahrie worked with more than 50 researchers and scholars throughout the University of California system to develop pragmatic pathways for achieving carbon neutrality and climate stability. The report was initiated as part of the UC’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025, and examined ways that the solutions proposed can become a demonstration project for the country and the world. Read the chapter here.