Research on the role of new technologies, especially social media, in political campaigns and elections has grown significantly over the last years (Boulianne, 2015; Dommett & Temple, 2018; Jungherr, 2014; Kreiss & Mcgregor, 2018). Some scholars suggest that social media has a promising potential for redistributing the power balance in favour of previously disadvantaged political actors, including women and minority groups (Gibson & McAllister, 2011; Patterson, 2016). Social media also offers an excellent opportunity for politicians to fully control their campaign messages and enhance two-way communication with electorates, unlike the experience with traditional media (Gainous & Wagner, 2013; Ward & Wring, 2018). These studies analyzing the role of social media are dominated by the Western context (Sandberg & Öhberg, 2017; Yarchi & Samuel-Azran, 2018), especially the US (Evans & Clark, 2016; Wagner et al., 2017), while far less research has systematically studied patterns in the global South setting (Karan et al., 2009). As a result, in my recent publication in Women’s Studies International Forum, I attempt to fill this gap by answering the question “do female politicians in non-Western societies benefit from using social media?”.… Read More Women and social media during legislative elections in Indonesia
How does candidate experience in previous elections affect ballot placement in list PR systems? Gert-Jan Put, Gertjan Muyters & Bart Maddens answer this question in their recently published article in West European Politics by analyzing the number candidacies of individuals. Focusing on candidate rather than office experience, the authors argue that selectorates have an incentive to place experienced candidates on promising list positions. They are expected to have an advantage with regard to their loyalty, knowledge, networks and voter recognition. Yet, this positive effect of electoral experience on list placement should fade out after a number of attempts to run. Irrespective of their loyalty or campaign experience, candidates who are repeatedly unable to secure a safe position should become increasingly unattractive for selectors and thus be disadvantaged in selection processes. To test this hypothesized curvilinear effect, the authors make use of innovative data providing information for 18,393 candidacies by 9,905 candidates running for European, national and regional elections for parties in Flanders (Belgium) between 1987 and 2019.… Read More Literature Review: The effect of candidate electoral experience on ballot placement in list proportional representation systems
My latest publication in the European Journal of Political Research addresses the question how women party leaders change their organization’s agenda? In this blog post, I present some of the key empirical insights and their theoretical implications. Despite of the increasing number of women serving as party heads, the relationship between the sex of party leaders and their organizations’ positions has received comparably little scholarly attention. What previous research has found is that higher shares of women in party executive committees seem to enhance support for gender quotas but not stances concerning the expansion of redistribution and education (Greene and O’Brien, 2016, Kittilson, 2011). My article provides a systematic assessment of the way women as leaders shape party positions on both, the sociocultural and economic dimension of political conflict. For that purpose, I study 304 manifestos of 102 parties in 19 developed democracies between 1995 and 2018. Data measuring party positions for the two dimensions of political conflict is based on the MARPOR project data (Volkens et al., 2019), i.e. indices identifying the level of party support for redistribution vs. market freedom and green, alternative, libertarian vs. traditionalist, authoritarian, nationalist policies.… Read More How parties led by a woman redefine their positions: Empirical evidence for women’s green, alternative, and libertarian agenda
In light of the current pandemic, the upcoming State elections in Baden-Württemberg on March 14, 2021 have sparked discussions about facilitating the options of postal voting. The Greens pushed for sending postal ballots automatically together with the election voting card to reduce administrative hurdles and to make the election more inclusive for those afraid of exposure to the Corona virus. The Conservatives raised concerns about electoral fraud urging that voting by mail should continue to be the exception rather than the rule (dpa 2020). As no majority was formed to change existing regulations, postal voting remains on-demand as in previous elections: Most voters in Baden-Württemberg who wish to use the option of voting via mail have to file an application send them via post at one’s own charge by a certain deadline. Only few local authorities allow for digital application. Once received, voters have to fill the ballot paper out in line with written procedures, and mail it back before or personally hand it in on election day(Ministerium für Inneres Digitalisierung und Migration 2021). Considering the effort it takes for voters to organize a postal vote, this blog post speaks to the debate about which citizens would profit from easier access to postal ballots. I analyze how individual level factors shape the voting habits based on data from three elections in the German State Baden-Württemberg between 2006 and 2016 and answer the following question: Who are those casting their vote by mail, who prefers to vote at the ballot box and who abstains instead?… Read More Who votes by postal ballot in German State elections?
In his latest publication in Government and Opposition Alexander Hemingway examines the relationship between legislators’ former occupations and their position on the economic dimension of political conflict. The author answers the question to what extent parliamentarians’ class backgrounds predict their attitudes and self-reported behavior concerning economic policies and inequality. The author expects that representatives originating from working class occupations are more leftist on the economic dimension of political conflict compared to their counterparts from business. Since ordinal workers cannot hedge themselves against risks associated with the market economy while being dependent on their labor, they seek protection by the government, asking for market intervention and redistribution. Scholars expect this pattern to persist once they enter the political domain as legislators. The author is the first to study this relationship in a cross-country comparison including over 2000 MPs from 15 different European countries and 73 national and sub-national parliaments… Read More Literature Review: Does Class Shape Legislators’ Approaches to Inequality and Economic Policy?
In our last blog post , we introduced the new dataset “Every single word – A new dataset including all parliamentary materials published in Germany” that includes all written communication in the German Bundestag and was just published as part of our research note in Government and Opposition. We already presented a first example clarifying how this data might be used to advance research in the field of legislative careers. In this blog post, we provide a second example that exploits the data to study women’s representation in parliament. Moreover, we make some general remarks about the way this data can be used in future research.… Read More Every Single Word: A New Data Set Including All Parliamentary Materials Published in Germany
Parliamentary documents like written and oral questions, motions or bills represent an invaluable data source for political scientists in various fields of the discipline. They allow researchers to address topics as diverse as representation and responsiveness, parliamentary agendas and parliamentary organization. However, studies often remain limited to short periods of time and few types of documents and/or policy areas, because the process of gathering the required documents and preparing them for analyses is very time-consuming and resource-intensive. In the absence of comprehensive data sets covering all written parliamentary communication in a country, political scientists thus get only a glimpse of the full picture. In our recent publication in Government and Opposition, we introduce a novel data set containing the full official record of the Bundestag between 1949 and 2017, amounting to a total of 131,835 documents, which will enrich researchers’ data sources.… Read More Every Single Word: A New Data Set Including All Parliamentary Materials Published in Germany