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?

Literature Review: The effect of geographical distance on representation

Not all representatives work under the same conditions. The geographical distance of MPs’ districts to the capital is a key factor creating systematic inequality and often overlooked in studies of representation. In his recent paper in West European Politics, David M. Willumsen gets involved with the different legislative behavior of MPs as a consequence of the time it takes them to travel between the two work places in their constituency and in parliament. … Read More Literature Review: The effect of geographical distance on representation

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?