“Multidimensional Incongruence and Vote Switching in Europe.” (with Ryan Bakker and Seth Jolly) Public Choice 176(1-2): 267-296. [Accepted Version]
Does ideological incongruence hurt parties in elections? Research on the representational relationship between parties and voters suggests that ideological congruence can boost a party’s electoral prospects. However, while the mechanism is at the individual-level, most of the literature focuses on the party-level. In this article, we develop a set of hypotheses based on a multidimensional conception of party-voter congruence at the individual-level, and examine the electoral consequences of these varying congruence levels in the 2014 European Parliament elections. Consistent with our expectations, comparative analysis finds that ideological and issue-specific incongruence is a significant factor in voting behavior in the European Parliament elections. Although the substantive effects of incongruence are understandably small compared to partisanship, government, or EU performance evaluations, party-voter disagreement consistently matters, and voters’ issue salience is an important moderator of the impact of incongruence on vote choice.
In Europe, non-economic political issues are seen as secondary but significant aspects of political competition. There is uncertainty, however, about the sources of the varying relationships between economic and cultural politics. This paper explains the variance in the correlation of the economic and cultural dimensions in different party systems through the impact of historical religious conflict. Despite the rise of new cultural issues, historical religious divides strikingly predict the relative distinctiveness of the socio-cultural dimension in today’s Europe. By demonstrating that economic conflicts did not always supersede religious divides, but were at times brought into standing religious cleavages, we deepen the understanding of cleavage formation and longevity, and dimensional structure of politics in Europe.
2018. “Electoral infidelity: Why party members cast defecting votes” (with Ann-Kristin Kölln) European Journal of Political Research 57(2): 539-560. [Link] [Accepted Version]
2018 Jack Walker Award for outstanding article from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Political Organizations and Parties.
Party politics and electoral research generally assume that party members are loyal voters. This article first assesses the empirical basis for this assumption before providing individual-level explanations for defection. It combines prominent theories from party politics and electoral behaviour research and argues that internal disagreement and external pressure can each bring about disloyal voting. The hypotheses are motivated with multi-country European survey data and tested on two sets of party-level national surveys. The results show, first, that, on average, 8 per cent of European party members cast a defecting vote in the last election, and second, that dissatisfaction with the leadership is the strongest predictor of defection. Additionally, internal ideological disagreement is associated with higher probabilities of defection, whereas the effects of pull factors in the form of contentious policies are rather limited. These findings emphasise the importance of testing scientific assumptions and the potential significance of party leadership contests.
-Related blog post for The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. [Link]
2017. “Anti-Elite/Establishment Rhetoric and Party Positioning on European Integration.” (with Jan Rovny) Chinese Political Science Review 2(3): 356-371. [Link] [Open Access Journal]
This article was part of an editor-reviewed special issue.
This article addresses the relationship between the salience of anti-elite/establishment rhetoric for political parties and party positions on European integration. Anti-establishment rhetoric is a feature of populism, which is increasingly influential in contemporary European politics. For populist parties across the continent, in several ways the European Union (EU) represents the pinnacle of elite-driven, establishment-based politics. Previous research has demonstrated that party EU positions are systematically related to their positions on the left–right ideological scale but that this varies from Western to Eastern Europe. Here, we show that parties that place more emphasis on anti-elite/establishment rhetoric are more likely to oppose European integration, and that this holds across the East/West geographical divide and controlling for a variety of other party characteristics.
2017. “Explaining the salience of anti-elitism and reducing political corruption for political parties in Europe with the 2014 Chapel Hill Expert Survey data.” (with Jan Rovny, Ryan Bakker, et al.) Research and Politics 4(1): 1-9. [Link] [Open Access Journal]
This article addresses the variation of anti-corruption and anti-elite salience in party positioning across Europe. It demonstrates that while anti-corruption salience is primarily related to the (regional) context in which a party operates, anti-elite salience is primarily a function of party ideology. Extreme left and extreme conservative (TAN) parties are significantly more likely to emphasize anti-elite views. Through its use of the new 2014 Chapel Hill Expert Survey wave, this article also introduces the dataset.
2017. “Stepping in the Same River Twice: Stability Amidst Change in Eastern European Party Competition.” (with Jan Rovny) European Journal of Political Research 56(1): 188-198. [Link] [Accepted Version]
Party competition in Eastern Europe faces a seeming paradox. On the one hand, research finds increased political volatility in these countries. On the other hand, some authors demonstrate inherent ideological stability in the region. This research note presents a new methodological approach to adjudicating between these two findings, and suggests that while political organizations come and go, the ideological structure of party competition in eastern European is strikingly steady. We do this by developing a number of different measures of the dimensional structure of party competition. We demonstrate the measures’ consistency across countries, as well as their relative stability within countries over time. Our findings speak to current developments in eastern Europe, and have implications beyond the region. The conclusion that even volatile party systems can be underpinned by stable ideological oppositions points to two different types of party system structure: one related to parties as organizations, and one related to parties as expressions of political divides.
Party members across European democracies exercise increasing influence on parties’ policy platforms or personnel choices. This article investigates ideological (in)congruence on the left–right spectrum between members and their parties by drawing on a party membership survey of more than 10,000 individuals across seven political parties in Sweden. The results show that around two-thirds of members are not perfectly congruent with their party. In a two-step analysis, the article argues that emancipated members, with higher political interest and with a more independent self-conception, are more comfortable being ideologically incongruent with their party. We also provide evidence that ideological incongruence matters for members’ exit, voice and loyalty behaviour. It is associated with a more negative evaluation of the party leader (voice) and with a higher probability to either vote for another party (loyalty) or even to leave the current one (exit). The findings indicate that ideological incongruence within parties is not a trivial matter, but is rather substantial in size with potentially important consequences for party competition.
– Summary for the London School of Economics European Politics and Policy blog. [Link]
2017. “What’s Trust Got To Do With It? The Effects of In-group and Out-group Trust on Conventional and Unconventional Political Participation.” (with Markus Crepaz and Karen Bodnaruk Jazayeri) Social Science Quarterly 98(1): 261-281. [Link] [Accepted Version]
This article explores whether there is a systematic variation in conventional and unconventional political participation as a function of in-group versus out-group trust. We postulate that the narrower the moral community is, the more political participation is restricted to conventional activity that is perceived as an obligation, as a political act to be fulfilled, something akin to citizenship duty. However, individuals with high levels of out-group trust—trust in people who are different or unknown—are more likely to participate in unconventional political activities that are public in nature and transcend concepts of duty, citizenship, or nation. To obtain measures of in-group and out-group trust, we rely on various items in the fifth wave of the World Values Survey. Applying confirmatory factor analysis yields two separate forms of trust, which become our central predictor variables in addition to other, theoretically-derived independent variables. We employ logistic regression with country cluster robust standard errors. The results support our central assertions, even when controlling for the standard measure of generalized trust and a number of other factors. Individuals with higher in-group trust report having voted at higher levels than individuals with lower in-group trust. Individuals with higher levels of out-group trust, however, participate more actively in nonconventional political activity. Surprisingly, the presence of out-group trust has a slightly negative impact on voting. Our findings further emphasize the importance of differentiating between types of interpersonal trust, and answer recent calls for empirical research on the impact of forms of trust on political behavior.
2015. “Measuring party positions in Europe: The Chapel Hill Expert Survey Trend File, 1999-2010” (with Ryan Bakker, Catherine de Vries, Erica Edwards, Liesbet Hooghe, Seth Jolly, Gary Marks, Jan Rovny, Marco Steenbergen and Milada Anna Vachudova) Party Politics 21(1): 143-152. [Link] [Accepted Version]
This article reports on the 2010 Chapel Hill expert surveys (CHES), and introduces the CHES trend file, which contain measures of national party positioning on European integration, ideology, and several European Union (EU) and non-EU policies for four waves of the survey, from 1999−2010. We examine the reliability of expert judgments and cross-validate the 2010 CHES data with data from the Comparative Manifesto Project and the 2009 European Elections Studies survey. The dataset is available on the CHES website.
2014. “The European Common Space: Using Anchoring Vignettes to Scale Party Positions Across Europe.” (with Ryan Bakker, Seth Jolly, and Keith Poole) Journal of Politics 76(4): 1089-1101. [Link] [Accepted Version]
In this article, we combine advances in both survey research and scaling techniques to estimate a common dimension for political parties across the member states of the European Union. Most previous scholarship has either ignored or assumed cross-national comparability of party placements across a variety of dimensions. The 2010 wave of the Chapel Hill Expert Survey includes anchoring vignettes which we use as “bridge votes” to place parties from different countries on a common space. We estimate our dimensions using the “blackbox” technique. Our results demonstrate both the usefulness of anchoring vignettes and the broad applicability of the blackbox scaling routine. Further, the resulting scale offers a cross-nationally comparable interval-level measure of a party’s left/right ideological position with a high degree of face validity. In short, we argue that the left/right economic dimension travels well across European countries.
– Summary for the London School of Economics European Politics and Policy blog. [Link]
2014. “Anchoring The Experts: Using Vignettes to Compare Party Ideology Across Countries.” (with Ryan Bakker, Erica Edwards, Seth Jolly, Jan Rovny, and Marco Steenbergen) Research and Politics 1(3). [Link] [Open Access Journal]
Expert surveys are a valuable, commonly used instrument to measure party positions. Some critics question the cross-national comparability of these measures, though, suggesting that experts may lack a common anchor for fundamental concepts such as economic left–right. Using anchoring vignettes in the 2010 Chapel Hill Expert Survey, we examine the extent of cross-national difference in expert ideological placements. We find limited evidence of cross-national differences; on the whole, our findings further establish expert surveys as a rigorous instrument for measuring party positions in a cross-national context.
2014. “Trust Matters: the Impact of Ingroup and Outgroup Trust on Nativism and Civicness.” (with Markus Crepaz, Ryan Bakker, and Shane Singh) Social Science Quarterly 95(4): 938-959. [Link]
The objectives of this study are threefold: first, we separate trust into a two-dimensional concept: ingroup trust and outgroup trust. Second, we apply both types of trust to two dependent variables: nativism and civicness, hypothesizing that respondents with ingroup trust should display higher degrees of nativism and lower degrees of civicness while the opposite should apply to respondents with outgroup trust. Third, we control for the traditional trust question in order to determine whether there is any value added by separating trust into two dimensions. After applying confirmatory factor analysis to a six-item measure in the fifth (2005/2006) wave of the World Values Survey, we identify two kinds of trust—“ingroup” and “outgroup.” We then use various regressions (linear, ordered logistic, and binary logistic) to estimate their effects on different measures of nativism and civicness. Our results indicate that despite the existence of a moderately strong positive correlation between the two trust measures, once applied to four models of nativism and three models of civicness, these have statistically significant and different relationships, even when controlling for traditional generalized trust. Our conclusions suggest that outgroup trust reduces nativism while ingroup trust tends to increase it, and, counter to expectations, we find that while ingroup trust varies positively and significantly with civicness measures, outgroup trust does not.
2013. “Catchall or Catch and Release? The Electoral Consequences of Social Democratic Parties’ March to the Middle in Western Europe” (with Johannes Karreth and Christopher Allen) Comparative Political Studies 46(7): 791-822. [Link]
Although the move to the center of many European Social Democratic parties in the 1990s was first rewarded with victories, these parties have since faced a remarkable electoral drought.What explains the seeming inability of these catchall parties to cast a wider but sustainable net for voters? Incorporating a temporal dimension helps explain when and why the broadening of party platforms fails and produces counterintuitive electoral outcomes. Our empirical study analyzes the votes of individuals in three European countries in the past three decades.The individual level allows us to track changes in parties’ voter structures, which are necessarily omitted from studies using aggregate vote shares. Our findings indicate that current analyses of the electoral effects of strategy shifts are misleading inasmuch as they fail to account for individual-level motivations for vote switching.
-Related blog post for The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. [Link]
2012. “Complexity in the European party space: Exploring dimensionality with experts” (with Ryan Bakker and Seth Jolly) European Union Politics 13(2): 219-245. [Link]
Does the n-issue space in domestic European polities reduce to one, two, or more dimensions? How do these dimensions relate to each other? More broadly, how does dimensionality vary across countries? We attempt to advance our understanding of political contestation in Europe by mapping the dimensionality of the political space across 24 countries using Chapel Hill expert survey (CHES) data. We test how well different models of the European political space fit the CHES data and find that three-dimensional models best fit the data in all countries. However, there is considerable cross-national variation in how the three dimensions relate to one another. Given this, we present a new measure of dimensional complexity that captures the degree to which these three dimensions are related. In so doing, we improve our understanding of the complexity of the political space in European countries.
2017. “The Lives of the Party: Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Intraparty Politics in Europe.” Party Politics 23(1) (Special Issue, guest-edited with Ann-Kristin Kölln). [Link] [Accepted Version]
Intraparty politics is a precursor to political parties’ policy proposals, manifestos, selected leaders and candidates, which often involves many actors and is regularly accompanied by tensions. This essay introduces the contents of a special issue devoted to the internal dynamics of political parties in Europe. We connect each contribution of the issue to three key aspects of intraparty research: (1) sources of information on internal party politics and methods of analysis, (2) how contemporary parties reconcile or otherwise address disagreements within the party and (3) the electoral and other ramifications of internal party tensions or divisions. Overall, the comparative case studies and cross-national comparisons across Western and Eastern Europe included in this issue show that considerations of intraparty dynamics advance scholarly research on alliances and coalitions, party organizations and party competition.
Contributions to Books
2018. Welfare Democracies and Multidimensional Party Competition in Europe. (with Jan Rovny) in Welfare Democracies and Party Politics. Philip Manow, Hanna Schwander and Bruno Palier, eds. Oxford University Press. [Accepted Version]
This chapter explains the relationship between the four European welfare democracies (Scandinavian, Continental, Southern, and Liberal) and multidimensional party competition. It examines the systematic variation of the relationship between party positions and salience on economic and cultural politics. The expectation is that Southern welfare democracies facilitate closer association between economic and cultural issues, whereas Nordic welfare democracies produce party systems where competition between mainstream parties has been defined by economic politics. The Continental welfare democracies stand between the two extremes. The argument is tested with the most recent (2014) waves of data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES) and the European Elections Studies (EES). The analysis suggests different political opportunity structures, and consequently different behavior of radical challenger parties of Western Europe. Here, the diverse types of welfare democracies again correlate with the flavors of radicalism.
2012. “Separation of Powers: The Legislative and Executive” (with Howard J. Wiarda). Comparative Law and Society, David Clark, ed. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham UK, Northampton (MA) USA.
2010. “Consociational Democracy” (with Howard J. Wiarda). The Encyclopedia of Political Science, George Thomas Kurian, Editor in Chief, Congressional Quarterly Press: Washington DC.
2014. Organizing Democratic Choice: Party Representation Over Time by Ian Budge, Hans Keman, Michael D McDonald, and Paul Pennings, and The Strain of Representation: How Parties Represent Diverse Voters in Western and Eastern Europe by Robert Rohrschneider and Stephen Whitefield. Perspectives on Politics 12(1): 255-257. [PDF]
2017. “Party members in Europe may not actually vote for their candidates. Here’s what’s going on.” (with Ann-Kristin Kölln) The Monkey Cage. The Washington Post, Oct. 12. [Link]
2016. “How internal disagreements affect the success of political parties: Evidence from Sweden.” (with Ann-Kristin Kölln) The London School of Economics and Political Science European Politics and Policy (EUROPP), Sept. 12 [Link]
2016. “What are the prospects of a “Swexit” for the political parties of Sweden.” (with Ann-Kristin Kölln) Politologerna, July 8. [Link]
2015. “Three findings from the 2015 Swedish Party Membership Survey.” (with Ann-Kristin Kölln) Politologerna, Nov. 9. [Link]
2015. “What is making it so difficult for Greece’s ruling coalition to govern effectively?” (with Ryan Bakker and Seth Jolly) The Monkey Cage. The Washington Post, Aug. 5. [Link]
2015. “Mapping Europe’s Party Systems: which parties are the most right-wing and left-wing in Europe?” (with Ryan Bakker and Seth Jolly) The London School of Economics and Political Science European Politics and Policy (EUROPP), May 14. [Link]
2015. “Moving to the center can be costly for left-wing parties.” (with Johannes Karreth) The Monkey Cage. The Washington Post, May 6. [Link]
2014. “Snap election in Sweden proves power of anti-immigration party.” The Conversation, Dec. 4. [Link]
2014. “Explainer: where next for Sweden after election scramble.” The Conversation, Sept. 17. [Link]
2014. “The Swedish general election: a final look at the polls and party platforms.” (with Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson) The London School of Economics and Political Science European Politics and Policy (EUROPP), Sept. 12. [Link]
2014. “The Swedish European elections will be held in the shadow of September’s national election, but European issues will play a key role.” (with Linda Berg)The London School of Economics and Poltical Science European Politics and Policy (EUROPP), April 8. [Link]