Skip to main content
×
×
Home

It Sounds Like They are Moving: Understanding and Modeling Emphasis-Based Policy Change*

  • Thomas M. Meyer and Markus Wagner
Abstract

Position change is an essential feature of political competition. Implicitly, policy change on an issue dimension is often equated with opinion change on specific issues within that dimension. However, in addition to opinion-based policy change, we highlight that parties and candidates can change their overall position by increasing their emphasis on certain opinions within that issue dimension (emphasis-based policy change). Using party manifesto data, we find that parties differ in their use of each type of policy change based on aspects of party organization, particularly the relative power of leaders and activists. Leader-dominated parties are more likely to engage in opinion-based policy change, also in reaction to systemic policy shifts. In contrast, activist-dominated parties tend to change their overall position in reaction to systemic shifts by emphasizing certain positions more. Our approach links salience-based to spatial models of party competition and has broader implications for how we study party competition.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Thomas M. Meyer is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Government, University of Vienna, Rooseveltplatz 3/1, 1090 Vienna (thomas.meyer@univie.ac.at). Markus Wagner is an Associate Professor at the Department of Government, University of Vienna, Rathausstraße 19/9, 1010 Vienna (markus.wagner@univie.ac.at). Previous versions of this manuscript have been presented at the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference, the 2014 Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), the 2014 Conference on Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties (EPOP), and in seminar series of the SFB 884, University of Mannheim, the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS), Humboldt University, Berlin, and the departmental seminar at the University of Konstanz. This work is supported by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) under grant numbers S10902-G11 and S10903-G11. The authors are particularly indebted to Will Lowe for pointing us to his modeling approach, which we adapt here. The authors would like to thank all participants, Tarik Abou-Chadi, Daniel Bischof, Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik, Nathalie Giger, Zachary Greene, Gijs Schumacher and the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2017.30

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Abou-Chadi, Tarik. 2016. ‘Niche Party Success and Mainstream Party Policy Shifts – How Green and Radical Right Parties Differ in Their Impact’. British Journal of Political Science 46(2):417436.
Adams, James. 2012. ‘Causes and Electoral Consequences of Party Policy Shifts in Multiparty Elections: Theoretical Results and Empirical Evidence’. Annual Review of Political Science 15:401419.
Adams, James, Clark, Michael, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Glasgow, Garrett. 2004. ‘Understanding Change and Stability in Party Ideologies: Do Parties Respond to Public Opinion or to Past Election Results?’. British Journal of Political Science 34(4):589610.
Adams, James, Clark, Michael, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Glasgow, Garrett. 2006. ‘Are Niche Parties Fundamentally Different from Mainstream Parties? The Causes and the Electoral Consequences of Western European Parties’ Policy Shifts, 1976-1998’. American Journal of Political Science 50(3):513529.
Adams, James, Haupt, Andrea B, and Stoll, Heather. 2009. ‘What Moves Parties? The Role of Public Opinion and Global Economic Conditions in Western Europe’. Comparative Political Studies 42(5):611639.
Adams, James, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2011. ‘Is Anybody Listening? Evidence That Voters do not Respond to European Parties’ Policy Statements During Elections’. American Journal of Political Science 55(2):370382.
Adams, James, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2014. ‘Do Voters Respond to Party Manifestos or to a Wider Information Environment? An Analysis of Mass-Elite Linkages on European Integration’. American Journal of Political Science 58(4):967978.
Adams, James, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2009. ‘Policy Adjustment by Parties in Response to Rival Parties’ Policy Shifts: Spatial Theory and the Dynamics of Party Competition in Twenty-Five Post-War Democracies’. British Journal of Political Science 39(4):825846.
Agresti, Alan. 2013. Categorical Data Analysis. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Bakker, Ryan, De Vries, Catherine E., Edwards, Erica, Hooghe, Lisbet, Jolly, Seth, Marks, Gary, Polk, Jonathan, Rovny, Jan, Steenbergen, Marco, and Vachudova, Milada Anna. 2015. ‘Measuring Party Positions in Europe: The Chapel Hill Expert Survey Trend File, 1999–2010’. Party Politics 21(1):143152.
Bakker, Ryan, and Hobolt, Sara B.. 2012. ‘Measuring Party Positions’. In Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf (eds), Political Choice Matters. Explaining the Strength of Class and Religious Cleavages in Cross-National Perspective, 2745. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Beck, Nathaniel, and Katz, Jonathan N.. 1995. ‘What to Do (and Not to Do) With Time-Series Cross-Section Data’. American Political Science Review 89(3):634647.
Beck, Nathaniel, and Katz, Jonathan N.. 1996. ‘Nuisance vs. Substance: Specifying and Estimating Time-Series-Cross-Section Models’. Political Analysis 6(1):136.
Benoit, Kenneth, and Laver, Michael. 2006. Party Policy in Modern Democracies. London: Routledge.
Budge, Ian. 1994. ‘A New Spatial Theory of Party Competition: Uncertainty, Ideology and Policy Equilibria Viewed Comparatively and Temporally’. British Journal of Political Science 24(4):443467.
Budge, Ian, and Farlie, Dennis. 1977. Voting and Party Competition: A Theoretical Critique and Synthesis Applied to Surveys from Ten Democracies. New York: Wiley.
Budge, Ian, and Farlie, Dennis J.. 1983. Explaining and Predicting Elections. Issue Effects and Party Strategies in Twenty-Three Democracies . London: Allen & Unwin.
Budge, Ian, Ezrow, Lawrence, and McDonald, Michael D.. 2010. ‘Ideology, Party Factionalism and Policy Change: An Integrated Dynamic Theory’. British Journal of Political Science 40(4):781804.
Budge, Ian, and Laver, Michael. 1992. ‘Coalition Theory, Government Policy, and Party Policy’. In Michael Laver and Ian Budge (eds), Party Policy and Government Coalitions, 140. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Carmines, Edward G., and Stimson, James A.. 1989. Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
De Vries, Catherine E., and Hobolt, Sara B.. 2012. ‘When Dimensions Collide: The Electoral Success of Issue Entrepreneurs’. European Union Politics 13(2):246268.
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.
Enelow, James M., and Hinich, Melvin J.. 1984. The Spatial Theory of Voting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ezrow, Lawrence, De Vries, Catherine E., Steenbergen, Marco, and Edwards, Erica E.. 2011. ‘Mean Voter Representation and Partisan Constituency Representation: Do Parties Respond to the Mean Voter Position or to Their Supporters?Party Politics 17(3):275301.
Feld, Scott L., Merrill, Samuel, and Grofman, Bernard. 2014. ‘Modeling the Effects of Changing Issue Salience in Two-Party Competition’. Public Choice 158(3–4):465482.
Fernandez-Vazquez, Pablo. 2014. ‘And Yet it Moves: The Effect of Election Platforms on Party Policy Images’. Comparative Political Studies 47(14):19191944.
Fernandez-Vazquez, Pablo, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. Forthcoming. ‘The Information Consequences of Party Leader Changes for Voter Perceptions of Party Positions.’ British Journal of Political Science. Available at http://pablofernandezvazquez.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/fv_st_leaders_paper_bjps_accepted_version.pdf, accessed 20 September 2017
Giger, Nathalie, and Schumacher, Gijs. n.d. ‘Do Leadership-Dominated Parties Change More?’. Working paper. Available at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/53910985/Do%20Leadership-Dominated%20Parties%20Change%20More.pdf, accessed 2 May 2016.
Goodman, Leo A. 1979. ‘Simple-Models for the Analysis of Association in Cross-Classifications Having Ordered Categories’. Journal of the American Statistical Association 74(367):537552.
Grimmer, Justin, and Stewart, Brandon M.. 2013. ‘Text as Data: The Promise and Pitfalls of Automatic Content Analysis Methods for Political Texts’. Political Analysis 21(3):267297.
Green, Jane. 2011. ‘A Test of Core Vote Theories: The British Conservatives, 1997-2005’. British Journal of Political Science 41(4):735764.
Harmel, Robert, and Janda, Kenneth. 1994. ‘An Integrated Theory of Party Goals and Party Change’. Journal of Theoretical Politics 6(3):259287.
Hooghe, Liesbet, Marks, G. Gary, and Wilson., Carole J. 2002. ‘Does Left/Right Structure Party Positions on European Integration?’. Comparative Political Studies 35(8):965989.
Hotelling, Harold. 1929. ‘Stability in Competition’. The Economic Journal 39(153):4157.
Janda, Kenneth, Harmel, Robert, Edens, Christine, and Goff, Patricia. 1995. ‘Changes in Party Identity’. Party Politics 1(2):171196.
Jones, Bryan D. 1994. Reconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics: Attention, Choice, and Public Policy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Kitschelt, Herbert. 1994. The Transformation of European Social Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Klüver, Heike, and Spoon, Jae-Jae. 2014. ‘Who Responds? Voters, Parties and Issue Attention’. British Journal of Political Science 46(3):633654.
Kollman, Ken, Miller, John H., and Page, Scott E.. 1992. ‘Adaptive Parties in Spatial Elections’. The American Political Science Review 86(4):929937.
Laver, Michael. 2005. ‘Policy and the Dynamics of Political Competition’. American Political Science Review 99(2):263281.
Laver, Michael. 2014. ‘Measuring Policy Positions in Political Space’. Annual Review of Political Science 17:207223.
Laver, Michael, and Hunt, Ben W.. 1992. Policy and Party Competition. London: Routledge.
Lehrer, R. 2012. ‘Intra-Party Democracy and Party Responsiveness’. West European Politics 35(6):12951319.
Lewis-Beck, Michael S., and Paldam, Martin. 2000. ‘Economic Voting: An Introduction’. Electoral Studies 19(2–3):113121.
Lowe, Will. 2013. ‘There’s (Basically) Only One Way to Do it’. Paper prepared for the American Political Science Association Meeting September 2013, Chicago, IL. Available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2318543, accessed 27 June 2014.
Lowe, Will, Benoit, Kenneth, Mikhaylov, Slava, and Laver, Michael. 2011. ‘Scaling Political Preferences from Coded Political Texts’. Legislative Studies Quarterly 36(1):123155.
Lupu, Noam. 2014. ‘Brand Dilution and the Breakdown of Political Parties in Latin America’. World Politics 66(4):561602.
Marks, Gary, and Wilson, Carole J.. 2000. ‘The Past in the Present: A Cleavage Theory of Party Response to European Integration’. British Journal of Political Science 30(3):443459.
Meguid, Bonnie M. 2005. ‘Competition Between Unequals: The Role of Mainstream Party Strategy in Niche Party Success’. American Political Science Review 99(3):347359.
Page, Benjamin I. 1978. Choices and Echoes in Presidential Elections. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Panebianco, Angelo. 1988. Political Parties: Organization and Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pedersen, Helene H. 2012. ‘What Do Parties Want? Policy Versus Office’. West European Politics 35(4):896910.
Robertson, David. 1976. A Theory of Party Competition. London: Wiley.
Schumacher, Gijs, de Vries, Catherine E., and Vis, Barbara. 2013. ‘Why Political Parties Change Their Positions: Environmental Incentives and Party Organization’. Journal of Politics 75(2):464477.
Sigelman, Lee, and Buell, Emmett H.. 2004. ‘Avoidance or Engagement? Issue Convergence in US Presidential Campaigns, 1960-2000’. American Journal of Political Science 48(4):650661.
Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2009. ‘Timely Decisions: The Effects of Past National Elections on Party Policy Change’. The Journal of Politics 71(1):238248.
Tavits, Margit. 2007. ‘Principle vs. Pragmatism: Policy Shifts and Political Competition’. American Journal of Political Science 51(1):151165.
Tomz, Michael, and van Houweling, Robert P.. 2012. ‘Candidate Repositioning’. Unpublished Manuscript. Available at https://web.stanford.edu/~tomz/working/TomzVanHouweling-Repositioning-2012-10-24.pdf, accessed 6 October 2014.
Van der Brug, Wouter. 2004. ‘Issue Ownership and Party Choice’. Electoral Studies 23(2):209233.
Volkens, Andrea, Lehmann, Pola, Matthieß, Theres, Merz, Nicolas, Regel, Sven, and Werner, Annika. 2015. ‘The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR)’, Version 2015a. Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Berlin.
Wagner, Markus. 2012. ‘When Do Parties Emphasize Extreme Positions? How Incentives for Policy Differentiation Influence Issue Importance’. European Journal of Political Research 51(1):6488.
Wagner, Markus, and Meyer, Thomas M.. 2014. ‘Which Issues do Parties Emphasise? Salience Strategies and Party Organisation in Multiparty Systems’. West European Politics 37(5):10191045.
Williams, Laron K. 2015. ‘It’s All Relative: Spatial Positioning of Parties and Ideological Shifts’. European Journal of Political Research 54(1):141159.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Meyer and Wagner Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown
WORD
Supplementary materials

Meyer and Wagner supplementary material
Meyer and Wagner supplementary material 1

 Word (1.3 MB)
1.3 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 112 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 745 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd October 2017 - 26th April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.