Voting is the most fundamental way for citizens to influence who gets to govern their country. At the same time, voting comes with certain costs for the individual, from gathering information about the different candidates all the way to the time and effort it takes to go turn up at the voting booth. Despite the meaning of voting and the costs it involves, significant numbers of people cast ‘invalid votes’. Invalid means that these votes are either blank, meaning that the person has not made their tick for any of the candidates, or they are spoilt. People spoil their votes by filling out the ballot incorrectly, by writing in candidates that do not run in their constituency or ‘none of the above’, and some spoil their ballot by drawing pictures or writing obscenities on their ballot.… Read More Compulsory voting and ethnic diversity increase invalid voting while corruption does not: An analysis of 417 parliamentary elections in 73 countries
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?
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
In her recent publication in the Journal of Representation, Corinna Kroeber answers the question of how researchers can measure the substantive representation of ethnic minorities and women in comparative studies? Most research studying to what extent representatives and parliaments are considerate of traditionally excluded groups’ political interest focuses on single countries. This makes it difficult to study important questions such as whether or to what extent electoral incentives moderate the motivation of belonging legislators to advocate for their group’s political interests. Or, in which manner women’s or minority organizations outside parliaments promote feminist or minority-friendly legislations. To close these and similar research gaps, it is necessary to compare traditionally excluded groups in different country contexts.… Read More New publication: How to measure the substantive representation of traditionally excluded groups in comparative research?
Candidate selection is one of the most important tasks of political parties. It determines who is placed in front of the electorate and thus often the parties’ electoral fortune. Despite this importance, only few parties have implemented formal requirements prospective candidates should meet (Hazan and Rahat, 2010). Due to this lack of formal rules, we… Read More Which candidates are placed on top of lists? Examining characteristics selectors are looking for in candidates to legislative elections
An average member of parliament in Iceland represents about 3850 citizens – making it one of the closest representative-voter ratios worldwide. How and why do representatives in this context bind with their constituency? This research question is addressed by Hlynsdóttir and Önnudóttir in their recent contribution in Representation.… Read More Literature Review: Constituency service in Iceland (and other Nordic countries)
By Jana Belschner. The first post-revolution local elections took place in Tunisia on 6 May 2018. This blog post aims to shed light on how quota regulations have resonated with political parties’ logics of candidate selection. How did the Tunisian parties implement the quotas for the youth, women and disabled and to what extent did they lead to more diversity in local politics?