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Almost all the prolific work done on economic voting has been based on the classic reward–punishment model, which treats the economy as a valence issue. The economy is a valence issue, but it is much more than that. This article explores two other dimensions of economic voting – position and patrimony. Investigating a 2010 British survey containing relevant measures on these three dimensions, the authors estimate their impact on vote intention, using a carefully specified system of equations. According to the evidence reported, each dimension of economic voting has its own independent effect. Moreover, together, they reveal a ‘compleat’ economic voter, who wields considerable power over electoral choice in Britain. This new result confirms and extends recent work on American and French elections.
This article combines theory and narrative to shed new light on the politics surrounding the making of central bank independence in contemporary Britain. Its central argument is that Gordon Brown's rewriting of the British monetary constitution in May 1997 constituted political manipulation in a Rikerian sense. The government removed a contentious issue from party politics in order to signal competence and enforce internal discipline. Building on Elster's constraint theory, the paper argues that Brown adopted a pre-commitment strategy aimed at binding others. The heresthetic move had dual consequences, both constraining and enabling. The institutionalization of discipline enabled New Labour to achieve economic and political goals. By revisiting the political rationality of precommitment, this article questions the dominant credibility story underlying the choice of economic institutions.
How does individual political efficacy affect the construction of policy preferences? This article presents a model of individual-level politicization of policy preference, which draws on psychological and political explanations and posits that greater external political efficacy results in a stronger effect of political ideology on concrete policy preference. Two empirical studies that test this hypothesis are reported: an original survey experiment conducted in Israel, and an analysis that relies on the 2002 wave of the European Social Survey. The empirical findings support the hypothesis. In contrast to the established conviction that no association exists between political efficacy and policy preferences, these findings reveal that external political efficacy has a polarizing effect on expressed policy preferences.
Esping-Andersen developed a typology of welfare regimes: conservative, liberal and social democratic, which are measured on the basis of seven indicators. We re-examine Esping-Andersen's data as well as replication data compiled by Scruggs and Allan to show that the seven indicators do not form valid measures of these welfare regimes. In addition to divergences in their measurement, the seven indicators are a mixture of institutional characteristics of welfare systems and outcome measures of social stratification. A measurement model based on the five institutional characteristics of welfare regimes that pertain to social insurance, however, does fit both the original and replication data. This article therefore proposes a three-dimensional model of conservative and liberal social insurance, which treats universal insurance coverage as the third dimension, instead of Esping-Andersen's ‘socialist’ regime. Although this does not fundamentally alter the typology of countries, it has implications for previous studies that employ country scores based on Esping-Andersen's method as independent variables in causal models. To illustrate these implications, this article re-examines a study by Noël and Thérien and calls into question their conclusions on the causal connections between the social democratic welfare state and levels of foreign aid.
Political scientists’ explanations for ethnic voting differ. Some have argued that the utility of ethnicity lies partly in the information that demographic cues provide about candidates, particularly in information-poor societies. However, extant research has not tested this proposition directly. This article proposes that, if part of ethnicity's utility is informational, we should expect that voters’ reliance on ethnic cues will decline when certain types of higher-quality information are available. To test this, a survey experiment was conducted in Uganda, with subjects evaluating candidates under varying informational environments. While support for co-ethnics was high when ethnicity was the only distinguishing fact about candidates, it declined when information was presented that portrayed co-ethnics negatively vis-à-vis non co-ethnics. These results suggest that informational environments can impact ethnic voting.
Religion can be a source of undemocratic attitudes but also a contributor to democratic norms. This article argues that different dimensions of religiosity generate contrasting effects on democratic attitudes through different mechanisms. The private aspect of religious belief is associated with traditional and survival values, which in turn decrease both overt and intrinsic support for democracy. The communal aspect of religious social behaviour increases political interest and trust in institutions, which in turn typically lead to more support for democracy. Results from multilevel path analyses using data from fifty-four countries from Waves 4 and 5 of the World Values Survey suggest there is some regularity in mechanisms responsible for the effect of religiosity on democratic support that extend beyond religious denomination.
An implicit element of many theories of constitutional enforcement is the degree to which those subject to constitutional law can agree on what its provisions mean (call this constitutional interpretability). Unfortunately, there is little evidence on baseline levels of constitutional interpretability or the variance therein. This article seeks to fill this gap in the literature, by assessing the effect of contextual, textual and interpreter characteristics on the interpretability of constitutional documents. Constitutions are found to vary in their degree of interpretability. Surprisingly, however, the most important determinants of variance are not contextual (for example, era, language or culture), but textual. This result emphasizes the important role that constitutional drafters play in the implementation of their product.
Missing values are a frequent problem in empirical political science research. Surprisingly, the match between the measurement of the missing values and the correcting algorithms applied is seldom studied. While multiple imputation is a vast improvement over the deletion of cases with missing values, it is often unsuitable for imputing highly non-granular discrete data. We develop a simple technique for imputing missing values in such situations, which is a variant of hot deck imputation, drawing from the conditional distribution of the variable with missing values to preserve the discrete measure of the variable. This method is tested against existing techniques using Monte Carlo analysis and then applied to real data on democratization and modernization theory. Software for our imputation technique is provided in a free, easy-to-use package for the R statistical environment.
Most research on political representation focuses on how citizens’ ideology and partisanship influence their support for political candidates – leaving the question of whether (and how) elected officials influence citizens’ positions on political issues open to debate. The hypothesis tested here – using a unique, quasi-experimental design with American National Election Study data between 1956 and 2004 – is that Democratic representatives shift the opinions of constituents in the pro-Democratic and liberal direction, while Republican representatives shift constituents’ opinions in the pro-Republican and conservative direction. The findings show that incumbent representatives indeed move their constituents’ opinions in a particular direction, and that representatives have a stronger impact on constituents who are more frequently exposed to their messages.