To what extent are new generations 'Thatcherite'? Using British Social Attitudes data for 1985-2012 and applying age-period-cohort analysis and generalized additive models, this article investigates whether Thatcher's Children hold more right-authoritarian political values compared to other political generations. The study further examines the extent to which the generation that came of age under New Labour - Blair's Babies - shares these values. The findings for generation effects indicate that the later political generation is even more right-authoritarian, including with respect to attitudes to redistribution, welfare and crime. This view is supported by evidence of cohort effects. These results show that the legacy of Thatcherism for left-right and libertarian-authoritarian values is its long-term shaping of public opinion through political socialization.
This article aims to maximize the reliability of presidential power scores for a larger number of countries and time periods than currently exists for any single measure, and in a way that is replicable and easy to update. It begins by identifying all of the studies that have estimated the effect of a presidential power variable, clarifying what scholars have attempted to capture when they have operationalized the concept of presidential power. It then identifies all the measures of presidential power that have been proposed over the years, noting the problems associated with each. To generate the new set of presidential power scores, the study draws upon the comparative and local knowledge embedded in existing measures of presidential power. Employing principal component analysis, together with the expectation maximization algorithm and maximum likelihood estimation, a set of presidential power scores is generated for a larger set of countries and country time periods than currently exists, reporting 95 per cent confidence intervals and standard errors for the scores. Finally, the implications of the new set of scores for future studies of presidential power is discussed.
The article examines the relationship between corruption and voting behavior by defining two distinct channels: pocketbook corruption voting, i.e. how personal experiences with corruption affect voting behavior; and sociotropic corruption voting, i.e. how perceptions of corruption in society do so. Individual and aggregate data from Slovakia fail to support hypotheses that corruption is an undifferentiated valence issue, that it depends on the presence of a viable anti-corruption party, or that voters tolerate (or even prefer) corruption, and support the hypothesis that the importance of each channel depends on the salience of each source of corruption and that pocketbook corruption voting prevails unless a credible anti-corruption party shifts media coverage of corruption and activates sociotropic corruption voting. Previous studies may have underestimated the prevalence of corruption voting by not accounting for both channels.
This article uncovers a new mechanism linking oil wealth to autocratic regime survival: the investigation tests whether increases in oil wealth improve the survival of autocracies by lowering the chances of democratization, reducing the risk of transition to subsequent dictatorship, or both. Using a new measure of autocratic durability shows that, once models allow for unit effects, oil wealth promotes autocratic survival by lowering the risk of ouster by rival autocratic groups. Evidence also indicates that oil income increases military spending in dictatorships, which suggests that increasing oil wealth may deter coups that could have caused a regime collapse.
A growing literature has focused attention on 'expressive' rather than 'instrumental' behaviour in political settings, particularly voting. A common criticism of the expressive idea is that it is ad hoc and lacks both predictive and normative bite. No clear definition of expressive behaviour has gained wide acceptance yet, and no detailed understanding of the range of foundations of specific expressive motivations has emerged. This article provides a foundational discussion and definition of expressive behaviour accounting for a range of factors. The content of expressive choice - distinguishing between identity-based, moral and social cases - is discussed and related to the specific theories of expressive choice in the literature. There is also a discussion of the normative and institutional implications of expressive behaviour.
The right-left dimension is ubiquitous in politics, but prior perspectives provide conflicting accounts of whether cultural and economic attitudes are typically aligned on this dimension within mass publics around the world. Using survey data from ninety-nine nations, this study finds not only that right-left attitude organization is uncommon, but that it is more common for culturally and economically right-wing attitudes to correlate negatively with each other, an attitude structure reflecting a contrast between desires for cultural and economic protection vs. freedom. This article examines where, among whom and why protection-freedom attitude organization outweighs right-left attitude organization, and discusses the implications for the psychological bases of ideology, quality of democratic representation and the rise of extreme right politics in the West.
This article employs World Values Survey measures of life satisfaction as though they were direct measures of utility, and uses them to evaluate alternative features and forms of government in large international samples. Life satisfaction is found to be more closely linked to several World Bank measures of the quality of government than to real per capita incomes, in simple correlations and more fully specified models explaining international differences in life satisfaction. Differences in the relative importance of different aspects of good government are tested for, and a hierarchy of preferences that depends on the level of development is found. The ability of governments to provide a trustworthy environment, and to deliver services honestly and efficiently, appears to be of paramount importance for countries with worse governance and lower incomes. The balance changes once acceptable levels of efficiency, trust and incomes are achieved, when more value is attached to building and maintaining the institutions of electoral democracy.
This article argues that public opinion regarding the legitimacy of income differences is influenced by actual income inequality. When income differences are perceived to be high, the public thinks of larger income inequality as legitimate. The phenomenon is explained by the system justification motivation and other psychological processes that favor existing social arrangements. Three experiments show that personal experiences of inequality as well as information regarding national-level income inequality can affect which income differences are thought of as legitimate. A fourth experiment shows that the system justification motivation is a cause of this effect. These results can provide an empirical basis for future studies to assume that the public reacts to inequality with adapted expectations, not increased demands for redistribution.
Existing research suggests that voters tend to respond positively to legislator independence due to two types of mechanism. First, dissent has an indirect effect, increasing a legislator's media coverage and personal recognition among constituents (profile effects). Secondly, constituents react positively to dissent when this signals that the legislator has matching political or representational preferences (conditional evaluation). This article presents a third effect: dissent acts as a valence signal of integrity and trustworthiness. Consistent with the valence signalling mechanism, it uses new observational and experimental evidence to show that British voters have a strong and largely unconditional preference for legislators who dissent. The findings pose a dilemma for political systems that rely on strong and cohesive parties.
While there is broad consensus that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sometimes succeed in influencing policy making within international organizations (IOs), there is much less agreement on the factors that make NGO lobbying effective. This article makes two contributions to this debate. First, the determinants of influence among NGOs active in different IOs, issue areas and policy phases are examined. The analysis builds on original survey data of more than 400 NGOs involved in five different IOs, complemented by elite interviews with IO and state officials. Secondly, the article advances a specific argument about how the strategic exchange of information and access between NGOs and IOs increases NGO influence in IOs. This argument, derived from theories of lobbying in American and European politics, is contrasted with three alternative explanations of NGO influence, privileging material resources, transnational networks and public opinion mobilization, and the broader implications of these results for research on NGOs in global governance are explored.
Despite the prevalence of anti-government rumors in authoritarian countries, little is currently known about their effects on citizens' attitudes toward the government, and whether the authorities can effectively combat rumors. With an experimental procedure embedded in two surveys about Chinese internet users' information exposure, this study finds that rumors decrease citizens' trust in the government and support of the regime. Moreover, individuals from diverse socio-economic and political backgrounds are similarly susceptible to thinly evidenced rumors. Rebuttals generally reduce people's belief in the specific content of rumors, but often do not recover political trust unless the government brings forth solid and vivid evidence to back its refutation or win the endorsement of public figures broadly perceived to be independent. But because such high-quality and strong rebuttals are hard to come by, rumors will erode political support in an authoritarian state. These findings have rich implications for studies of rumors and misinformation in general, and authoritarian information politics in particular.
Access to information is a hallmark of democracy, and democracy demands an informed citizenry. Knowledge of party positions is necessary for voters so that electoral choices reflect preferences, allowing voters to hold elected officials accountable for policy performance. Whereas most vote choice models assume that parties perfectly transmit positions, citizens in fact obtain political information via the news media, and this news coverage can be biased in terms of salience - which leads to asymmetric information. This study examines how information asymmetries in news coverage of parties influence knowledge about political party positions. It finds that the availability of information in the news media about a party increases knowledge about its position, and that party information in non-quality news reduces the knowledge gap more than information in quality news.
United Nations (UN) peacekeepers tend to be deployed to hard-to-resolve' civil wars. Much less is known about where peacekeepers are deployed within a country. However, to assess peacekeepers' contribution to peace, it matters whether they are deployed to conflict or relatively safe areas. This article examines subnational UN peacekeeping deployment, contrasting an instrumental' logic of deployment versus a logic of convenience'. These logics are evaluated using geographically and temporally disaggregated data on UN peacekeepers' deployment in eight African countries between 1989 and 2006. The analysis demonstrates that peacekeepers are deployed on the frontline: they go where conflict occurs, but there is a notable delay in their deployment. Furthermore, peacekeepers tend to be deployed near major urban areas.
Recent research on parliamentary institutions has demonstrated that legislatures featuring strong committees play an important role in shaping government policy. However, the impact of the legislators who lead these committees - committee chairs - is poorly understood. This study provides the first examination of whether the partisan control of committee chairs in parliamentary systems has a systematic impact on legislative scrutiny. The article argues that committee chairs can, in principle, use their significant agenda powers to serve two purposes: providing opposition parties with a greater ability to scrutinize government policy proposals, and enabling government parties to better police one another. Analyzing the legislative histories of 1,100 government bills in three parliamentary democracies, the study finds that control of committee chairs significantly strengthens the ability of opposition parties to engage in legislative review. The analysis also suggests that government parties' ability to monitor their coalition allies does not depend on control of committee chairs.
Electoral rules and constitutional structures can influence the level of political corruption. We show that proportional representation (PR) systems are more susceptible to corrupt political rent-seeking than plurality systems. We argue that this result depends on the different loci of rents in PR and plurality systems, and on the monitoring difficulties faced by both voters and opposition parties under PR. We also examine the interaction between electoral rules and presidentialism. We test our main predictions and interaction effects on a cross-section of up to ninety-four democracies. The empirical findings strongly support our hypothesis that PR systems, especially together with presidentialism, are associated with higher levels of corrupt political rent-seeking.
Scholarly research has demonstrated rather conclusively that American political elites have undergone a marked partisan polarization over the past thirty years. There is less agreement, however, as to whether the American electorate is polarized. This review article evaluates the evidence, causes and consequences of polarization on both the elite and mass levels. A marked difference between the two is found. Elites are polarized by almost any definition, although this state of affairs is quite common historically. In contrast, mass attitudes are now better sorted by party, but generally not polarized. While it is unclear whether this potentially troubling disconnect between centrist mass attitudes and extreme elite preferences has negative policy consequences, it appears that the super-majoritarian nature of the US Senate serves as a bulwark against policy outcomes that are more ideologically extreme than the public would prefer. Moreover, a public more centrist than those who represent it has also at times exerted a moderating influence on recent policies. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
Although spatial theory posits that political parties adjust their policies in response to rival parties' policy strategies, there is little comparative research that evaluates this hypothesis. Using the Comparative Manifesto Project data, we analyse the relationship between parties' policy programmes and the policies of their opponents in twenty-five post-war democracies. The authors conclude that parties tended to shift their policy positions in the same direction that their opponents had shifted their policies at the previous election; furthermore, parties were particularly responsive to policy shifts by other members of their 'ideological families', i.e. leftist parties responded to other leftist parties while right-wing parties responded to right-wing parties. Their findings have important implications for spatial models of elections, for the dynamics of party systems and for political representation.
This article attempts to reformulate and resuscitate the seemingly prosaic methodological task of description, which is often derided in favour of causal analysis. First, the problem of definition is addressed: what does this category of analysis ('description') refer to? Secondly, a taxonomy of descriptive arguments is offered, emphasizing the diversity contained within this genre of empirical analysis. Thirdly, the demise of description within political science is charted over the past century, with comparisons to other disciplines. Fourthly, it is argued that the task of description ought to be approached independently, not merely as a handmaiden of causal theories. Fifthly, the methodological difficulties of descriptive inference are addressed. Finally, fruitful research areas within the rubric of description are reviewed.
Procedural fairness theory posits that the way in which authoritative decisions are made strongly impacts people's willingness to accept them. This article challenges this claim by contending that democratic governments can achieve little in terms of acceptance of policy decisions by the procedural means at their disposal. Instead, outcome favorability is the dominant determinant of decision acceptance. The article explicates that while central parts of procedural fairness theory are true, outcome favorability is still overwhelmingly the strongest determinant of individuals' willingness to accept authoritative decisions. It improves on previous research by locating all key variables into one causal model and testing this model using appropriate data. Findings from a large number of experiments (both vignette and field) reproduce the expected relationships from previous research and support the additional predictions.