Literature Review: Stability of voter satisfaction with democracy during the electoral cycle

In their recently published article in Party Politics, Nemčok and Wass shed light on the stability of the differences in satisfaction with democracy between winners and losers of elections. Existing research consistently demonstrates that voters’ evaluation of democratic performance is conditioned by the latest election result. Those who supported the winning party are more satisfied with democracy as they believe the government will implement policies in line with their preferences. Voters belonging to the losing camp, by contrast, are less satisfied because of the prospect that the country will be lead by a government that does not – or to a limited extent – mirror their policy opinions. The authors take an innovative approach by challenging the idea that evaluations of democratic performance and thus the gap in satisfaction between supporters of winning and losing parties is stable within the electoral cycle.… Read More Literature Review: Stability of voter satisfaction with democracy during the electoral cycle

Literature Review: Leader effects and accountability of prime ministers in parliamentary elections

Do electorates punish or reward prime ministers (PMs) for the government performance of their parties? While previous research examined leader effects and evaluation of government as separate determinants of voting decisions, Jan Berz demonstrates in his recently published study in Politics that the impact of voters’ perception of party leaders only partly explains electoral behavior. He argues that voters do not only hold parties in power but also PMs directly accountable in parliamentary elections. Therefore, they punish or reward the governing party and the PM at the ballot box for their perceived performance. As party leaders and agenda-setters, PMs articulate their policy preferences to the public and promote their implementation as heads of government. They have considerable decision-making power within the executive, which is why voters should hold them personally accountable if the government performs poorly. In sum, the evaluation of PMs and thus the leader effects should be confounded by the perceived government performance.… Read More Literature Review: Leader effects and accountability of prime ministers in parliamentary elections

Business as usual? The COVID-19 crisis in German state legislatures

Crises require fast responses by the state, no matter whether they follow from natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or the spread of diseases. Motivated by this rational, most constitutions equip their executives with extensive competencies to cope with emergency situations, so that governments can react on short notice and in a flexible manner. While the measures taken by governments to address the COVID-19 outbreak currently receive a lot of media attention, it is far less visible how parliaments respond to these special circumstances. However, legislatures have the right and obligation to hold governments accountable in ordinary and extraordinary times. In this blog contribution, I therefore explore how representatives have been overseeing the government in the COVID-19 crisis during the last weeks.… Read More Business as usual? The COVID-19 crisis in German state legislatures

Literature Review: An Analysis of Tweets Sent to UK Members of Parliament

Do male and female MPs face dissimilar levels and types of uncivil behavior on twitter? Previous research focusing on high-profile politicians conclude that women suffer higher levels of online harassment than their male colleagues. To provide a broader picture of online incivility, Southern and Harmer study the experience of less prominent House of Commons members in their recent publication. The authors make use of around 117,000 tweets to ordinary UK MPs who are not amongst the top 50 most followed in a time span of 14 days in April 2018. They manually coded all tweets and found that around 10 percent of the messages can be deemed generally uncivil.… Read More Literature Review: An Analysis of Tweets Sent to UK Members of Parliament

Happiness and Voting: Evidence from Four Decades of Elections in Europe

In his recently published article in the American Journal of Political Science, George Ward suggests that it is necessary for politicians and researchers to look ‘beyond GDP’ to understand why and when citizens vote for sitting governments. Studies engaging with economic voting show that a good economy leads to higher chances of re-election. Ward now directs our attention to the influence of happiness in this context: Do high levels of national happiness enhance the probability of re-election of an incumbent government, and can individual well-being explain vote intentions?… Read More Happiness and Voting: Evidence from Four Decades of Elections in Europe

Are women gaining ground? The allocation of committee chairs in the European Parliament

To Members of the European Parliament, the position of a committee chair is more appealing than any other posts in the EP (e.g. McElroy, 2006). Representatives in these positions can shape proceedings, they influence cohesion and coherence and can affect the committee’s output substantially (Hix, 1999). Additionally, leadership positions provide opportunities to influence legislation and significantly affects visibility since the position of a committee chair is a strong predictor for speech-making in the plenary (Greene and Cross, 2017). However, irrespective of this importance for practitioners, little academic work has analyzed committee chair allocation in the EP (Chiru, 2019) and the role of gender has been completely disregarded thus far. As a result, in this blog post, I look into the factors at the European and member state level that enable women to become committee chairs in the European Parliament between 1979 and 2019.… Read More Are women gaining ground? The allocation of committee chairs in the European Parliament

Literature Review: Examining Gender and Party Leader Tenures and Exits

Are women’s experiences as party leaders different from those of men ask O’Neill, Prusysers and Stewart in their recently published article in Political Studies. The authors expect that female party leaders stay shorter in office than their male colleagues for two reasons: the glass cliff phenomenon and the role incongruity of prejudice. First, parties tend to choose women for leadership positions in times of crisis and thus when the risk of failing is high. Second, once women make it to leadership positions they are assumed to be confronted with suspicion, more negative assessments of their qualities and higher electoral expectation than male leaders. The reason why women face more pressure derives from incongruity between the expectations how women should act according to gender stereotypes (e.g. communal) and how leaders should behave (e.g. confident, assertive). Once women do not follow their traditional role and become party leaders, they are subjected to prejudices and harsher judgements by party elites.… Read More Literature Review: Examining Gender and Party Leader Tenures and Exits