59 research outputs found

    From polarization of the public to polarization of the electorate: European Parliament elections as the preferred race for ideologues

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    This study examines the effect of voters’ ideological extremism on turnout in European national and European Parliament elections. Using data from recent European Election Studies, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, and other national election studies, we find that, relative to centrists, ideological extremists (measured by self-placement on the left–right scales) are more likely to vote in European Parliament elections (2014 and 2019) but not national elections. We argue that these differences stem from the fact that European Parliament elections are second-order races. The results help to explain why the European Parliament has become more polarized, even in the absence of significant changes in overall attitudes among the European public, and why extreme parties have been more successful in recent European Parliament than national elections

    The Dynamics of Enlargement in International Organizations

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    Most international organizations (IOs) expand their membership over the course of their lifespan. Although these enlargements tend to be heralded as normatively positive — for the IOs themselves, for the new members, and for cooperative outcomes more generally — expansions can also lead to conflicts in the organization. What conditions lead to enlargement rounds that reshape an organization in unexpected ways? We argue that, depending upon the diversity of the initial group of countries, members may vote to admit new entrants that can tilt organizational decision-making in unexpected directions. We anticipate fewer enlargements with lesser impact on the character of the organization among organizations that have either a smaller range of founding members or a relatively even initial dispersion. We develop an agent-based model that accounts for the complex decision-making environment and social dynamics that typify IO accession processes. The model helps us explain how the nature of decision-making in organizations can shift following enlargement, likely changing the organization’s output and goals

    From text to political positions on foreign aid: analysis of aid mentions in party manifestos from 1960 to 2015

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    Looking at texts of election manifestos, this paper examines systematic differences among political parties within and across countries in how they position themselves on foreign aid and in how these manifesto pledges translate into commitments to disburse aid. Conventional wisdom suggests that left-leaning parties may be more supportive of foreign aid than rightwing parties, but also that foreign aid may not be sufficiently electorally salient for parties to stake out positions in campaign materials, such as manifestos. We leverage a new data set that codes party positions on foreign aid in election manifestos for 13 donors from 1960 to 2015. We find that parties differ systematically in how they engage with foreign aid. Left-leaning governments are more likely to express positive sentiment vis-Ă -vis aid than right-leaning governments. We evaluate the effects of positions on aid outcomes and find that positive aid views expressed by the party in government translate into higher aid commitments, though only for left-leaning parties

    Assessing the Measurement of Policy Positions in Expert Surveys

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    Expert surveys provide a common means for assessing parties' policy positions on latent dimensions. These surveys often cover a wide variety of parties and issues, and it is unlikely that experts are able to assess all parties equally well across all issues. While the existing literature using expert surveys acknowledges this fact, insufficient attention has been paid to the variance in the quality of measurement across issues and parties. In this paper, we first discuss the nature of the measurement problem with respect to expert surveys and then propose methods borrowed from the organizational psychology and medical fields to assess the ability of experts to assess where parties stand on particular dimensions. While we apply our technique to one particular study, the Chapel Hill Expert Survey, the method can be applied to any expert survey. Finally, we propose a simple non-parametric bootstrapping procedure that allows researchers to assess the effects of expert survey measurement error in analyses that use them

    Balancing Competing Demands: Position-Taking and Election Proximity in the European Parliament

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    Parties value unity, yet, members of parliament face competing demands, giving them incentives to deviate from the party. For members of the European Parliament (MEPs), these competing demands are national party and European party group pressures. Here, we look at how MEPs respond to those competing demands. We examine ideological shifts within a single parliamentary term to assess how European Parliament (EP) election proximity aects party group cohesion. Our formal model of legislative behavior with multiple principals yields the following hypothesis: When EP elections are proximate, national party delegations shift toward national party positions, thus weakening EP party group cohesion. For our empirical test, we analyze roll call data from the fth EP (1999-2004) using Bayesian item response models. We nd signicant movement among national party delegations as EP elections approach, which is consistent with our theoretical model, but surprising given the existing literature on EP elections as second-order contests.

    Ideological Clarity in Multiparty Competition: A New Measure and Test Using Election Manifestos

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    Parties in advanced democracies take ideological positions as part of electoral competition, but some parties communicate their position more clearly than others. Existing research on democratic party competition has paid much attention to assessing partisan position taking in electoral manifestos, but it has largely overlooked how manifestos reflect the clarity of these positions. This article presents a scaling procedure that better reflects the data-generating process of party manifestos. This new estimator allows us to recover not only positional estimates, but also estimates for the ideological clarity or ambiguity of parties. The study validates its results using Monte Carlo tests, a manifesto-drafting simulation and a human coding exercise. Finally, the article applies the estimator to party manifestos in four multiparty democracies and demonstrates that ambiguity can enhance the appeal of parties with platforms that become more moderate, and lessen the appeal of parties with platforms that become more extreme

    Ideology, Grandstanding, and Strategic Party Disloyalty in British Parliament

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    Strong party discipline is a core feature of Westminster parliamentary systems. Parties typically compel Members of Parliament (MPs) to support the party position regardless of MPs' individual preferences. Rebellion, however, does occur. Using an original dataset of MP votes and speeches in the British House of Commons from 1992 to 2015, coupled with new estimations of MPs' ideological positions within their party, we find evidence that MPs use rebellion to strategically differentiate themselves from their party. The strategy that MPs employ is contingent upon an interaction of ideological extremity with party control of government. Extremists are loyal when their party is in the opposition, but these same extremists become more likely to rebel when their party controls government. Additionally, they emphasize their rebellion through speeches. Existing models of rebellion and party discipline do not account for government agenda control and do not explain these patterns

    How European Union Membership Can Undermine the Rule of Law in Emerging Democracies

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    The European Union views the spread of economic prosperity and rule of law to countries emerging from dictatorship as among its primary goals when considering countries as candidates for membership. Existing literature often suggests that EU membership confers significant benefits on the accession countries, and these countries are willing to undergo costly and difficult reforms to reap these benefits. Through strict membership conditions, member states force accession countries to commit to democracy. Drawing on theoretical work in the fields of law, politics, and economics, this article reassesses the conventional wisdom. It argues that, under certain conditions, the reforms required of would-be members could have the perverse effect of undermining the establishment of legitimate law in transitional democracies. Using an agent-based model, the article elucidates a theory in which placing laws on the books around which no societal consensus exists can create perverse incentives for citizens and government officials and may lead to an erosion of the rule of law

    Exit Costs, Veto Rights, and Integration: Bargaining Power in International Organizations and Federal Systems

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    Literature on bargaining within international organizations points to two potential sources of bargaining power: veto rights and exit rights. In some circumstances a member state may be able to veto a rules change which it opposes. In others, it may be able to threaten to leave the organization if its demands are not met. Finally, if exit from the organization is possible, other member states may be able to force a laggard member state to accept changes it opposes by threatening to kick the laggard out of the organization if the state does not agree to the proposed change. Under what circumstances do veto rights provide bargaining leverage and under what circumstances are exit threats a source of power? When would a member state prefer to use one of these sources of power over the other? Are both of these options available simultaneously or if one is available does that mean that the other is not? What implications does this have for political integration, and more broadly, the possible creation of a federal state? This paper seeks to answer these questions using a game theoretic model to examine the interaction between veto rights and exit threats in international organizations and federal states. My model has implications for European integration and can also help explain the conditions under which independent states give up sovereignty to form a stable federal union. I test the implications of the model through a case study of EU integration in the 1970s and 1980s
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