When are governments most likely to use election violence, and what factors can mitigate government incentives to resort to violence? How do the dynamics of election violence differ in the pre- and post-election periods? The central argument of this article is that an incumbent's fear of losing power as the result of an election, as well as institutionalized constraints on the incumbent's decision-making powers, are pivotal in her decision to use election violence. While it may seem obvious to suggest that incumbents use election violence in an effort to fend off threats to their power, it is not obvious how to gauge these threats. Thus, a central objective of this article is to identify sources of information about the incumbent's popularity that can help predict the likelihood of election violence. The observable implications of this argument are tested using newly available cross-national evidence on elections, government use of pre- and post-election violence, and post-election protests from 1981 to 2004.
The institutional turn in comparative authoritarianism has generated wide interest. This article reviews three prominent books on authoritarian institutions and their central theoretical propositions about the origins, functions and effects of dominant party institutions on authoritarian rule. Two critical perspectives on political institutions, one based on rationalist theories of institutional design and the other based on a social conflict theory of political economy, suggest that authoritarian institutions are epiphenomenal on more fundamental political, social and/or economic relations. Such approaches have been largely ignored in this recent literature, but each calls into question the theoretical and empirical claims that form the basis of institutionalist approaches to authoritarian rule. A central implication of this article is that authoritarian institutions cannot be studied separately from the concrete problems of redistribution and policy making that motivate regime behavior.
This article provides a detailed set of coding rules for disaggregating electoral volatility into two components: volatility caused by new party entry and old party exit, and volatility caused by vote switching across existing parties. After providing an overview of both types of volatility in post-communist countries, the causes of volatility are analysed using a larger dataset than those used in previous studies. The results are startling: most findings based on elections in post-communist countries included in previous studies disappear. Instead, entry and exit volatility is found to be largely a function of long-term economic recovery, and it becomes clear that very little is known about what causes party switching' volatility. As a robustness test of this latter result, the authors demonstrate that systematic explanations for party-switching volatility in Western Europe can indeed be found.
The widespread opposition to unprecedented austerity measures in Greece provides a unique opportunity to study the causes of mass protest. This article reports the results of a survey of the adult population in which two-thirds of the respondents supported protest and 29 per cent reported actual involvement in strikes and/or demonstrations during 2010. Relative deprivation is a significant predictor of potential protest, but does not play any role in terms of who takes part in strikes or demonstrations. Previous protest participation emerges as a key predictor of actual protest. This study seeks to place these results within a comparative context, contrasting Greece with other countries facing similar challenges, and discusses the implications for the future of austerity politics.
This study uses new data on coups d'etat and elections to document a striking development: whereas the vast majority of successful coups before 1991 installed durable rules, the majority of coups after that have been followed by competitive elections. The article argues that after the Cold War, international pressure influenced the consequences of coups. In the post-Cold War era, countries that were most dependent on Western aid were the first to embrace competitive elections after their coups. This theory also helps explain the pronounced decline in the number of coups since 1991. While the coup d'etat has been (and still is) the single most important factor leading to the downfall of democratic governments, these findings indicate that the new generation of coups has been far less harmful for democracy than their historical predecessors.
This article outlines the concept of Global Experimentalist Governance (GXG). GXG is an institutionalized transnational process of participatory and multilevel problem solving, in which particular problems (and the means of addressing them) are framed in an open-ended way, and subjected to periodic revision by various forms of peer review in light of locally generated knowledge. GXG differs from other forms of international organization and transnational governance, and is emerging in various issue areas. The Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances is used to illustrate how GXG functions. The conditions for the emergence of GXG are specified, as well as some of its possible benefits.
Economic statistics inform citizens of general conditions, while central leaders use them to evaluate local officials. Are economic data systematically manipulated? After establishing discrepancies in economic data series cross-nationally, this article examines Chinese sub-national growth data. It leverages variation in the likelihood of manipulation over two dimensions, arguing that politically sensitive data are more likely to be manipulated at politically sensitive times. Gross domestic product (GDP) releases generate headlines, while highly correlated electricity production and consumption data are relatively unnoticed. In Chinese provinces, the difference between GDP and electricity growth increases in years with leadership turnover, which is consistent with juking the stats for political reasons. The analysis points to the political role of information and the limits of non-electoral accountability mechanisms in authoritarian regimes.
Theories often explain intraparty competition based on electoral conditions and intraparty rules. This article further opens this black box by considering intraparty statements of preferences. In particular, it predicts that intraparty preference heterogeneity increases after electoral losses, but that candidates deviating from the party's median receive fewer intraparty votes. Party members grant candidates greater leeway to accommodate competing policy demands when in government. The study tests the hypotheses using a new database of party congress speeches from Germany and France, and uses automated text classification to estimate speakers' relative preferences. The results demonstrate that speeches at party meetings provide valuable insights into actors' preferences and intraparty politics. The article finds evidence of a complex relationship between the governing context, the economy and intraparty disagreement.
Do parties listen to their voters? This article addresses this important question by moving beyond position congruence to explore whether parties respond to voters' issue priorities. It argues that political parties respond to voters in their election manifestos, but that their responsiveness varies across different party types: namely, that large parties are more responsive to voters' policy priorities, while government parties listen less to voters' issue demands. The study also posits that niche parties are not generally more responsive to voter demands, but that they are more responsive to the concerns of their supporters in their owned issue areas. To test these theoretical expectations, the study combines data from the Comparative Manifestos Project with data on voters' policy priorities from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and various national election studies across eighteen European democracies in sixty-three elections from 1972-2011. Our findings have important implications for understanding political representation and democratic linkage.
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.
The ability of the news media to mobilize voters during an election campaign is not well understood. Most extant research has been conducted in single-country studies and has paid little or no attention to the contextual level and the conditions under which such effects are more or less likely to occur. This study tests the mobilizing effect of conflict news framing in the context of the 2009 European Parliamentary elections. The unique multi-method and comparative cross-national study design combines a media content analysis (N548,982) with data from a two-wave panel survey conducted in twenty-one countries (N532,411). Consistent with expectations, conflict framing in campaign news mobilized voters to vote. Since the effect of conflict news was moderated by evaluations of the EU polity in the general information environment, conflict framing more effectively mobilized voters in countries where the EU was evaluated more positively.
Inequality and democracy are far more compatible empirically than social conflict theory predicts. This article speaks to this puzzle, identifying the scope conditions under which democratization induces greater redistribution. Because autocrats sometimes have incentives to expropriate economic elites, who lack reliable institutions to protect their rights, elites may prefer democracy to autocratic rule if they can impose roadblocks to redistribution under democracy ex ante. Using global panel data (1972-2008), this study finds that there is a relationship between democracy and redistribution only if elites are politically weak during a transition; for example, when there is revolutionary pressure. Redistribution is also greater if a democratic regime can avoid adopting and operating under a constitution written by outgoing elites and instead create a new constitution that redefines the political game. This finding holds across three different measures of redistribution and instrumental variables estimation. This article also documents the ways in which elites 'bias' democratic institutions.
Political violence remains a pervasive feature of electoral dynamics in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, even where multiparty elections have become the dominant mode of regulating access to political power. With cross-national data on electoral violence in Sub-Saharan African elections between 1990 and 2010, this article develops and tests a theory that links the use of violent electoral tactics to the high stakes put in place by majoritarian electoral institutions. It is found that electoral violence is more likely in countries that employ majoritarian voting rules and elect fewer legislators from each district. Majoritarian institutions are, as predicted by theory, particularly likely to provoke violence where large ethno-political groups are excluded from power and significant economic inequalities exist.
The presidential-parliamentary distinction is foundational to comparative politics and at the center of a large theoretical and empirical literature. However, an examination of constitutional texts suggests a fair degree of heterogeneity within these categories with respect to important institutional attributes. These observations indicate that the classic presidential-parliamentary distinction, and the semi-presidential category, may not be systemic. This article investigates whether the defining attributes that separate presidential and parliamentary constitutions predict other attributes that are stereotypically associated with these institutional models. The results suggest the need for considerable skepticism of the 'systemic' nature of the classification. Indeed, the results imply that in order to predict the powers of a country's executive and legislature, it is more useful to know where and when the constitution was written than whether the country has a presidential or parliamentary system.
Voluntary compliance is an important aspect of strong tax regimes, but there is limited understanding of how social norms favoring compliance emerge. Using novel data from urban Nigeria, where tax enforcement is weak, this article shows that individuals with a positive experience of state services delivery are more likely to express belief in an unconditioned citizen obligation to pay tax. In addition to support for this fiscal exchange mechanism, social context is consequential. Where individuals have access to community-provided goods, which may substitute for effective state services provision, they are less likely to adopt pro-compliance norms. Finally, the article shows that norm adoption increases tax payment. These findings have broad implications for literatures on state formation, taxation and public goods provision.
For a given number of troops in a peace operation, is it advisable to have soldiers from a single country, or should the UN recruit peacekeepers from a variety of donor countries? Since 1990, the number of contributors to peace operations has grown threefold, and most operations have carried the mandate to protect civilians. This article explores the effect of diversity in the composition of a mission, measured by fractionalization and polarization indices, on its performance in protecting civilians in Africa in the period 1991-2008. It finds that mission diversity decreases the level of violence against civilians, a result that holds when geographic and linguistic distances between countries are considered.
This article develops and tests a set of theoretical mechanisms by which candidate ethnicity may have affected the party vote choice of both white British and ethnic minority voters in the 2010 British general election. Ethnic minority candidates suffered an average electoral penalty of about 4 per cent of the three-party vote from whites, mostly because those with anti-immigrant feelings were less willing to vote for Muslims. Ethnic minority voter responses to candidate ethnicity differed by ethnic group. There were no significant effects for non-Muslim Indian and black voters, while Pakistani candidates benefited from an 8-point average electoral bonus from Pakistani voters.
A strong statistical association between legislative opposition in authoritarian regimes and investment has been interpreted as evidence that authoritarian legislatures constrain executive decisions and reduce the threat of expropriation. Although the empirical relationship is robust, scholars have not provided systematic evidence that authoritarian parliaments are able to restrain the actions of state leaders, reverse activities they disagree with, or remove authoritarian leaders who violate the implied power-sharing arrangement. This article shows that authoritarian legislatures, by providing a forum for horse trading between private actors, are better at generating corporate governance legislation that protects investors from corporate insiders than they are at preventing expropriation by governments. The statistical analysis reveals that the strength of authoritarian legislatures is associated with corporate governance rules and not expropriation risk.