Literature Review: Can Descriptive Representation Help the Right Win Votes from the Poor? Evidence from Brazil

It appears to be common wisdom that left-wing parties incorporate anti-poverty policies into their manifestos and nominate candidates who are descriptively closer to people in lower social classes, i.e. aspirants who share a similar level of income, education, or occupations. In their latest publication in the American Journal of Political Science Zuheir Desai and Anderson Frey challenge this claim by examining why right-wing parties fare better than left-wing parties in high-poverty areas in Brazil. To explain this phenomenon, the authors propose to integrate theories of policy choice and candidate selection. They argue that parties from the right strategically decide to combine the substantive representation of the poor with the selection of candidates who also descriptively represent this group. When right-wing parties, who are typically opposed to redistribution, choose to adapt their policy to incorporate the interests of the poor, a candidate from that group increases the credibility of the policy shift.… Read More Literature Review: Can Descriptive Representation Help the Right Win Votes from the Poor? Evidence from Brazil

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party Presidential Race: Highlighting two female challengers

On September 29, 2021, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held its presidential election. The candidates consisted of two women and two men. It was the first time that two women challenged the presidency in the party’s history. The LDP is the most powerful political party in Japan. Since its establishment in 1955, the party has mostly ruled the Diet (Japan’s national parliament); it lost power only in 1993 and 2009. The LDP assumes a patriarchal nature. It holds 382 Diet seats out of the total 710 (53.8%). Of these LDP seats, women hold 39 seats or 10.2%, which remains the lowest level among all Japanese political parties—the average proportion of female Diet members is 16.1%. Since Japanese voters have conceived of the LDP as an old men dominated party, they were surprised at this presidential election. The two women, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda, both have had more fortunate careers than other female politicians, having been appointed as cabinet ministers and taken managerial posts within the party. But they are different in policy ideas and political styles, specifically presenting contrasting attitudes toward gender issues.… Read More Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party Presidential Race: Highlighting two female challengers

When Does She Rebel? How Gender Affects Deviating Legislative Behaviour

Following the latest Bundestag elections, 255 women MPs (34,7 percent) have taken up their work in the German Parliament last week. While research demonstrates that women behave differently than men in early phases of the policy making process, we know little about whether sex also affects legislative behavior at the latest stage of law-making, namely in roll call votes (RCV). To refine our insights in the ways gender influences political processes, our latest publication in Government and Opposition asks: does gender affect vote defection from party lines, and if so, under what circumstances?… Read More When Does She Rebel? How Gender Affects Deviating Legislative Behaviour

Becoming what you see? How the voting behavior of citizens of immigrant origin is shaped by their district

Germany is going to the polls in a few days. Of those allowed to cast a ballot, 12.2% have an immigrant background, i.e. were born abroad or have at least one parent who was born abroad. This group of citizens might become key to the elections results, since in 167 of the 299 single member districts, their vote choices could actually decide about who is elected (Leininger and Lagodny 2021). So, what does previous scholarly work tell us about the voting behavior of citizens of immigrant origin? They generally favor left-wing parties (Bird et al. 2010), albeit with some exceptions as suggested for instance by the finding from Germany that voters of German-Russian origin show strong support for the right-wing AfD (Goerres et al. 2018). Aiming to understand the voting behavior of this group of voters in more detail, in this blog post, I engage with the question: How does the share of district habitants with immigrant background shape the voting choices of citizens of immigrant origin?… Read More Becoming what you see? How the voting behavior of citizens of immigrant origin is shaped by their district

Literature Review: Women and Men in the United Nations General Assembly Debates 2015

In the last 70 years, the United Nations (UN) has been implementing various programs and adopting numerous agreements on women’s rights and thereby contributed to reducing gender inequality (i.e., The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women/CEDAW). However, even within the UN, gender inequality prevails as women make up 61.5% of the workforce at the lowest UN grade level and only 27.3% at the highest. Never has a woman been appointed to take the highest-ranking position, the UN Secretary General. One way to better understand the status of women in the UN is by examining language and gender. Such investigations contribute to studies on differences in language use associated with gender and enhance our understanding of how gender bias is perpetuated through language. Previous studies focus on UN officials and head of states formal addresses before the UN, and they have identified clear discourse, rhetorical, lexical and grammatical patterns.  … Read More Literature Review: Women and Men in the United Nations General Assembly Debates 2015

Who cares about the way the government does its job? How evaluation of government performance shapes the likelihood to waste a vote

Unequal likelihoods to make a ballot count – wasted votes – can create imbalances in the electoral process, for instance between younger and older, or poorer and richer citizens. A while ago, Cal Le Gall, Sarah C. Dingler and myself studied this phenomenon in more detail and investigated differences in the likelihood to waste a vote (neither for the winning candidate nor for the first looser) that follow from age, sex, income, and education. Based on data for elections held in majoritarian electoral systems in the UK, France, and Germany (SMD tier only) between 2005 and 2015, we uncovered that an archetypical vote waster is a young man. Younger voters’ higher propensity to waste their vote follows from their desire to express their values, beliefs, ideology, and identity through their ballot rather than making short-term strategic choices. Men’s higher likelihood to vote ineffectively is most likely a sign of protest, leading to electoral support for extreme parties even if their candidates have little chances to win electoral races. In this blog post, I follow up on this research and lay out some thoughts about the way these patterns might change as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. How citizens evaluate the performance of the government during these exceptional times could be decisive for their vote choices. Higher levels of satisfaction with the working of the government should decrease the likelihood to waste a vote by creating support for the parties that govern – which are likely to be promising vote choices in upcoming elections. However, how does citizens’ evaluation of the performance of the governing parties reshape the likelihood of different societal groups, i.e. young and old, men and women, to waste a vote?… Read More Who cares about the way the government does its job? How evaluation of government performance shapes the likelihood to waste a vote