Political protest is seemingly a ubiquitous aspect of politics in advanced industrial societies, and its use may be spreading to less developed nations as well. Our research tests several rival theories of protest activity for citizens across an exceptionally wide range of polities. With data from the 1999-2002 wave of the World Values Survey, we demonstrate that the macro-level context -levels of economic and political development -significantly influences the amount of popular protest. Furthermore, a multi-level model examines how national context interacts with the micro-level predictors of protest activity. The findings indicate that contemporary protest is expanding not because of increasing dissatisfaction with government, but because economic and political development provide the resources for those who have political demands.
Claims regarding the power of the mass media in contemporary politics are much more frequent than research actually analysing the influence of mass media on politics. Building upon the notion of issue ownership, this article argues that the capacity of the mass media to influence the respective agendas of political parties is conditioned upon the interests of the political parties. Media attention to an issue generates attention from political parties when the issue is one that political parties have an interest in politicizing in the first place. The argument of the article is supported in a time-series study of mass media influence on the opposition parties' agenda in Denmark over a twenty-year period.
Talk of democratic reform sometimes focuses on talk. The aspiration of 'deliberative democracy' is for the mass public to influence policy making through public discussion. The common presumption is that this is an advanced version of democracy, possible only in established democracies. Even there, there are doubts. Some contend that ordinary citizens cannot deal with complex policy issues,(1) others that their deliberations will be distorted by gender or class inequalities,(2) and yet others that they will be ineluctably polarizing.(3) In less fully democratic societies like China's, the prospects may seem slimmer. Yet China has now been home to four Deliberative Polls. Here, we report on the first, in Zeguo Township in Wenling City. This was a local public consultation that attempted to affect policy choices, while fulfilling some ambitious criteria from democratic theory. We consider how well it succeeded.
This article examines how national parties and their members position themselves in European Parliament (EP) debates, estimating the principal latent dimension of spoken conflict using word counts from legislative speeches. We then examine whether the estimated ideal points reflect partisan conflict on a left-right, European integration or national politics dimension. Using independent measures of national party positions on these three dimensions, we find that the corpus of EP speeches reflects partisan divisions over EU integration and national divisions rather than left-right politics. These results are robust to both the choice of language used to scale the speeches and to a range of statistical models that account for measurement error of the independent variables and the hierarchical structure of the data.
Hug discusses the problems of selection bias in roll call votes, offers empirical evidence that these biases may be considerable, and suggests a way to correct them. He first discusses the different ways in which roll call occurs in parliaments around the world. He then examines how the publication of votes, or not, leads to biases for two legislatures (1995-99, 1999-2003) of the Swiss lower house.
Since 1990, the number of preferential trade agreements has increased rapidly. The argument in this article explains this phenomenon, known as the new regionalism, as a result of competition for market access; exporters facing trade diversion because of their exclusion from a preferential trade agreement concluded by foreign countries push their governments into signing an agreement with the country in which their exports are threatened. The argument is tested in a quantitative analysis of the proliferation of preferential trade agreements among 167 countries between 1990 and 2007. The finding that competition for market access is a major driving force of the new regionalism is a contribution to the literature on regionalism and to broader debates about global economic regulation.
This article examines how voters attribute credit and blame to governments for policy success and failure, and how this affects their party support. Using panel data from Britain between 1997 and 2001 and Ireland between 2002 and 2007 to model attribution, the interaction between partisanship and evaluation of performance is shown to be crucial. Partisanship resolves incongruities between party support and policy evaluation through selective attribution: favoured parties are not blamed for policy failures and less favoured ones are not credited with policy success. Furthermore, attributions caused defections from Labour over the 1997-2001 election cycle in Britain, and defections from the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat coalition over the 2002-07 election cycle in Ireland. Using models of vote switching and controlling for partisanship to minimize endogeneity problems, it is shown that attributed evaluations affect vote intention much more than unattributed evaluations. This result holds across several policy areas and both political systems.
Operationalized as a simulation and checked against 1,737 policy shifts in twenty-four post-war democracies, this theory of party position-taking offers both an explanation and specific postdictions of party behaviour, synthesizing some previous approaches and linking up with mandate theories of political representation. These wider implications are considered at the beginning and the end of the article.
Using data from a randomized field experiment within a Deliberative Poll, this paper examines deliberation's effects on both policy attitudes and the extent to which ordinal rankings of policy options approach single-peakedness (a help in avoiding cyclical majorities). The setting was New Haven, Connecticut, and its surrounding towns; the issues were airport expansion and revenue sharing -the former highly salient, the latter not at all. Half the participants deliberated revenue sharing, then the airport; the other half the reverse. This split-half design helps distinguish the effects of the formal onsite deliberations from those of other aspects of the treatment. As expected, the highly salient airport issue saw only a slight effect, while much less salient revenue-sharing issue saw a much larger one.
Systematic empirical research has yet to explain how national parties join political groups in the European Parliament. This article first demonstrates, using original empirical measures from expert surveys of party positions, that EP party groups consist of national parties sharing similar policy positions. Secondly, using Bayesian/MCMC methods, the paper estimates the policy determinants of group affiliation using a (conditional) multinomial logit model to explain that ' party group' choice is largely driven by policy congruence. Finally, predictions from the model identify national parties not in their ' ideally congruent' EP groups. The findings suggest that the organization of and switching between EP groups is driven mainly by a concern to minimize policy incongruence between national and transnational levels.
Existing empirical models of international co-operation emphasize domestic determinants, although virtually all theories of international relations focus on interdependencies between countries. This article examines how much states' linkages with the international system, relative to domestic factors, such as income and democracy, influence the dynamics of global governance efforts. To this end, we study the ratification behaviour of 180 countries vis-à-vis 255 global environmental treaties. Except for integration into the world economy, which affects co-operative behaviour negatively, our results show that international factors have a stronger and more positive impact on cooperative behaviour than domestic factors. This implies that Galton's advice not to examine the effects of internal and external variables in isolation is also useful in the study of international politics.
This article explores the politics of attention in Britain from 1940 to 2005. It uses the Speech from the Throne (the King's or Queen's Speech) at the state opening of each session of parliament as a measure of the government's priorities, which is coded according to topic as categorized by the Policy Agendas framework. The article aims to advance understanding of a core aspect of the political agenda in Britain, offering empirical insights on established theories, claims and narratives about post-war British politics and policy making. The analysis uses both distributional and time-series tests that reveal the punctuated character of the political agenda in Britain and its increasing fragmentation over time, with turning points observed in 1964 and 1991.
This article analyses the relationship between the representatives and the represented by comparing elite and mass attitudes to gender equality and women's representation in Britain. In so doing, the authors take up arguments in the recent theoretical literature on representation that question the value of empirical research of Pitkin's distinction between substantive and descriptive representation. They argue that if men and women have different attitudes at the mass level, which are reproduced amongst political elites, then the numerical under-representation of women may have negative implications for women's substantive representation. The analysis is conducted on the British Election Study (BES) and the British Representation Study (BRS) series.
This article seeks to further our understanding of how social structure affects the onset of civil war. Existing studies to date have been inconclusive, focusing only on single-cleavage characteristics of social structure, such as ethnic or religious fractionalization. This study argues that models that do not take into account the relationship between cleavages (or cleavage structure) are biased and thus reach faulty conclusions. With the focus on the cleavages of ethnicity and religion, the effects of two characteristics of cleavage structure on civil war onset (cross-cuttingness and cross-fragmentation) are defined and tested. A new index of ethno-religious cross-cuttingness (ERC), derived from national public opinion surveys, reveals that ERC is a significant determinant of civil war onset when interacted with ethnic fractionalization.
This article utilizes the statistical analysis of an original dataset of African legislative seat volatility levels and three case studies to demonstrate that the size and configuration of politically salient ethnic groups bear a strong relationship with patterns of legislative seat volatility in Africa. Legislative seat volatility is highest in countries where either no social group is large enough to form a majority on its own, or a majority group contains within itself a second smaller majority group; it is lowest in countries where one, and only one, group forms a majority. In contrast, most standard explanations for volatility, including variations in economic performance, democratic period of origin and democratic duration, do not appear relevant in the African context.
This article contributes to the empirical turn in deliberative democratic theory, by studying the presence of arguing (discussion on the merits) and bargaining in the working groups of the Council of the European Union. It uses a survey of representatives of member states to analyse to what extent, under what circumstances, and by whom, arguing is used. The results indicate that arguing is indeed common in the Council working groups, but also that there is substantial variation. Most arguing is found in intergovernmental policy areas and by the most powerful and well-connected actors. The findings point to the conclusion that higher stakes and political pressure make actors less willing and able to engage in arguing.
Compulsory voting is sometimes thought to be justified in democracies because it promotes high levels of voting and mitigates inequalities of turnout amongst social groups. Proponents of compulsory voting also argue that it helps to prevent the free-riding of non-voters on voters. This article casts a sceptical eye on both arguments. Democratic citizens do not have a duty to promote their self-interest, and their duties to others do not generally require them to vote, or to attend the polls. So, while people are sometimes morally obliged to vote, and to vote one way rather than another, legal compulsion to vote or to turn out is generally unjustified and inconsistent with democratic government.
Democracy is frequently framed as a distributional game. Much of the evidence supporting this possibility rests on the World Bank's 1996 'high-quality' inequality dataset. Using the updated and revised 'high-quality' dataset of 2007, this article revisits those results. Using the same country sample, more years and similar specifications to previous studies, as well as a larger country sample with more appropriate statistical models, we find no relationship between democracy/civil liberties and aggregate measures of economic inequality. Whether, and how, democracy decreases economic inequality remains an open question.
Commissions of inquiry play an important role in the aftermath of crisis, by serving as instruments of accountability and policy learning. Yet crises also involve a high-stake game of political survival, in which accountability and learning pose a serious threat to incumbent politicians. The political decision of whether to appoint a commission of inquiry after a crisis thus provides a unique prism for studying the intense conflict between politics, accountability and policy learning. Using data from the United Kingdom, this study develops and tests a choice model for this political decision. The results show that the political decision to appoint inquiries into public crises is strongly influenced by shortterm blame avoidance considerations, media salience and government popularity.
Some scholars use the 'dynamic representation' approach to test how much current policy changes reflect past public preferences. This article tests hypotheses derived from this approach in a left-right context for the United Kingdom from 1976 to 2006. This shows that government policy on the left-right scale shifts as public preferences change ('rational anticipation'). Secondly, a public with right-wing preferences elects the Conservatives, who pursue right-wing policies in office ('electoral turnover'). However, popular incumbents are less likely to adjust their policy position to the public. The Westminster system is criticized for its weak link between the rulers and the ruled, but dynamic representation on the left-right scale in the United Kingdom seems to have functioned admirably in this period.