Literature Review: The Gendered Effects of Public Discontent on Legislative Nominations in Latin America

In this recently published article in Party Politics, Funk, Hinojosa and Piscopo analyze strategic candidate nominations of political parties in response to unfavorable political contexts. They argue that if public discontent with legislatures and perceived corruption is high, political elites have an incentive to nominate more women in order to maximize vote shares. Based on the assumption that women (according to gendered stereotypes) are associated with higher morality, more civic-mindedness and less corruption, political parties strategically assemble more diverse candidate lists in contexts of skepticism. With this strategy, they aim to signal the voter that the party is changing course and thus deserve voters’ trust and, in turn, hope to increase vote shares. Using data from more than 100 political parties in 18 Latin American countries, the authors show that discontent can indeed have gendered effects: parties nominate more women when a large proportion of the public distrusts the national legislature.… Read More Literature Review: The Gendered Effects of Public Discontent on Legislative Nominations in Latin America

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German female and male ministers – many similarities and little differences

Most executives around the world are largely male-dominated, even though the proportion of women ministers is at an all-time high at the moment with 20.7 per cent (812 out of 3922), (IPU 2019). Some scholars argue that the low numbers follow from the fact that women need to overcome higher barriers than men to get to the top (e.g. Murray 2014, Verge and Astudillo 2019). They need to make-up for intangible masculine assets that they naturally do not possess but that are highly valued by institutional and political gatekeepers who select ministers. Based on this idea, women might have to be exceptional to overcome social, structural, and political obstacles to office. To understand this rationale in more detail, in this blogpost, I zoom into the German case to answer the question whether female ministers are better equipped for a position in government than their male colleagues?… Read More German female and male ministers – many similarities and little differences

Can women save the environment? How female Members of the European Parliament make a difference on environmental legislation

“Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg (2019) puts it blatantly clear: our style of living is threatening our very existence; we are destroying the ground we live on – and if we do not radically change our conveniently arranged lives now, we won’t have the chance to turn the tide anymore. Living in a representative democracy, it is, however, not only us, the citizens, who have to act. Far-reaching decisions about environmental politics are taken by parliamentarians. Hence, we would probably want to know what delegates think about environmental issues and whether they act in accordance with these preferences.… Read More Can women save the environment? How female Members of the European Parliament make a difference on environmental legislation

Why do people (not) turn out to vote in local elections?

Local elections differ in very profound ways from national elections: The electorate is rather small and homogenous and the elected body is considered to be closer to the people. To some extent, these differences should translate into variations in participation with voters being easily able to make informed choices at the local level. Research analyzing participation in the local or national elections or the gaps between these two stress the importance of individual-level factors, or macro-level socio-economic, political and institutional variables (for an overview see Geys 2006 and Stockemer 2017). The peculiarities of municipal elections, makes them a very interesting setting to investigate variations in turnout across and within countries as well as over time. Hence, in this blog post, I ask the question whether the aggregate-level factors described by previous studies can also explain differences in the share of constituents turning out to four local elections in the Austrian State of Salzburg between 2004 and 2019.… Read More Why do people (not) turn out to vote in local elections?

Which conservatives voted against May’s Brexit deal?

This week’s “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons marks one of the most remarkable losses a British prime minister ever had to experience. 68.1% of all representatives voted against the deal negotiated by May’s government with the European Union. Even within her Conservative party, the prime minister experienced considerable opposition with 37.6% of the MPs voting against the EU (withdrawal) Act. In this brief blog contribution, I aim to identify which conservative MPs were most likely to vote against their own government’s Brexit proposal. Were representatives with certain social characteristics and contextual settings in their districts more likely to vote ‘no’?… Read More Which conservatives voted against May’s Brexit deal?

The Alternative for Germany in parliament – Still an unexperienced newbie?

It has been one year since the last German national election and the entry of the Alternative for Germany into parliament. Holding about 30 percent of the legislative seats, the right-wing populist party constitutes the largest opposition fraction. By customary law, leading the opposition in the German parliament involves important symbolic powers such as the right to reply directly to government statements or to chair the influential financial committee. How does the newly elected party make use of its role as largest opposition fraction so far?… Read More The Alternative for Germany in parliament – Still an unexperienced newbie?

Literature Review: Double barriers or outgroup advantage

In the recent article, Stockemer and Sundström ask whether young women, compared to older women, are more likely to be elected to parliaments. Since most male representatives are middle-aged to senior, such a negative relationship between age and electoral success of women appears counter-intuitive. Yet, theories about biases in recruitment practices indicate that candidates with two outgroup traits such as young women might actually have better chances to be granted viable list positions.… Read More Literature Review: Double barriers or outgroup advantage