Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in the 21st Century


Edited by: Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G. Niemi & Pippa Norris

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    About the Contributors

    Ingrid van Biezen is Professor of Comparative Politics at Leiden University. She has previously taught at the University of Birmingham and the Johns Hopkins University, and has held Visiting Fellowships at Yale University and the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Political Parties in New Democracies and Financing Political Parties and Election Campaigns and has published widely on comparative party politics, political finance, and democratic theory in European and American journals.

    André Blais is Professor of Political Science at the Université de Montréal. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a research fellow with the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative (CIREQ), and the Center for Interuniversity Research Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO). He is past president of the Canadian Political Science Association. His research interests are elections, electoral systems, turnout, public opinion, and methodology.

    Elisabeth Carter is Lecturer in Politics at Keele University in the UK. Her research interests include political parties, electoral institutions, and electoral behaviour. Her articles on the impact of electoral institutions on small and extremist parties have been published in the European Journal of Political Research, Representation, and West European Politics. She is the author of The Extreme Right in Western Europe: Success or Failure? (2005) and the co-editor of The Europeanization of National Political Parties: Power and Organizational Adaptation (2007).

    Russell J. Dalton is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine and was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. He has received a Fulbright Research Fellowship at the University of Mannheim, the Barbra Streisand Fellowship, a German Marshall Research Fellowship and a POSCO Fellowship at the East/West Center. His recent publications include The Good Citizen and Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices; he is co-editor of Party Politics in East Asia, The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior and Citizens, Democracy and Markets around the Pacific Rim, and Parties without Partisans.

    David M. Farrell has recently taken up the position of chair of Politics at University College Dublin. Prior to that he was the Jean Monnet chair in European Politics at the University of Manchester. He is co-editor of the journal Party Politics and also of the ECPR/Oxford University Press book series on Comparative Politics. Recent publications include Representing Europe's Citizens? (2006) and The Australian Electoral System (2005). He is currently finalizing a revised edition of his long-standing textbook on Electoral Systems.

    Timothy Hellwig is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He has published articles on economic voting, political accountability, and the electoral consequences of globalization in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Politics. He is currently working on a book-length project, funded by the National Science Foundation, on economic globalization and mass politics in advanced industrial democracies.

    Lawrence LeDuc is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His publications include The Politics of Direct Democracy (2003) and Absent Mandate: Canadian Electoral Politics in an Era of Restructuring (1996) as well as articles on voting, elections, and related topics in North American and European political science journals. His current research deals with electoral reform, political participation, and direct democracy.

    Richard G. Niemi is Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. He is co-author or co-editor of Vital Statistics on American Politics, 2009–2010 (2009), Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot (2008), Institutional Change in American Politics: The Case of Term Limits (2007), and other books. His current research includes voting, US ballots, and public opinion.

    Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She has also served as Director of the Democratic Governance Group at UNDP in New York. Her work compares democracy, elections and public opinion, political communications, and gender politics. Recent books are Cosmopolitan Communications (coauthored with Ronald Inglehart, 2009), and Public Sentinel: The News Media and the Governance Agenda (edited, 2009).

    G. Bingham Powell, Jr. is Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. He is author of Elections as Instruments of Democracy (2000), Contemporary Democracies (1982) and co-author and co-editor of the textbook Comparative Politics Today (9th edn, 2008). His current research focuses on election rules, party systems, and political representation.

    Marian Sawer is Adjunct Professor and Director of the Democratic Audit of Australia at the Australian National University. She has published 15 books, including the co-authored Australia: The State of Democracy (2009). Apart from electoral reform, her current research projects deal with the evolution of social movements and gender and multilevel governance.

    Susan E. Scarrow is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston. She is author of Perspectives on Political Parties (2002) and Parties and Their Members (1996), and co-editor of Democracy Transformed? (2003). Her main research interests are political parties, direct democracy, and political finance.

    Claes H. de Vreese is Professor and Chair of Political Communication and Scientific Director of The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam. He is also Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark and Director of the Center for Politics and Communication ( He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles on political communication, media, public opinion, journalism, and European integration.

    Christopher Wlezien is Professor of Political Science at Temple University. He is co-author of the forthcoming Degrees of Democracy (2010) and co-editor of The Future of Election Studies (2002) and Britain Votes (2005). He has published many articles on elections, public opinion and policy, and currently is co-editor of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, and the ‘Poll-Reviews’ section of Public Opinion Quarterly.

  • Notes

    Chapter 1 Introduction

    1 This label was offered by former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

    2 The Freedom House scores for 193 countries may be found at

    3 OSCE/ODIHR. September 28, 2008. OSCE/ODIHR Belarus Parliamentary Elections Election Observation Mission Final Report.

    4 See, for example, reports by Amnesty International,

    5 EU Election Observation Mission. December 9, 2008. Ghana Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, 2008, p. 1.


    7 UNDP (2008). Human Development Indices 2008.

    8 For a review of this literature, see Geddes (1999) or Bunce (2003). On more recent trends, see Diamond (2008).

    9 The lower house of the legislature must be elected; the chief executive must be elected (directly in presidential systems and indirectly by members of the elected legislature in parliamentary systems); there must be more than one party; if, after passing the previous rules, the incumbent party held, but never lost an election, such regimes are regarded by default as authoritarian.

    10 The notion of several distinct “waves” of democratization was highlighted by Huntington (1991).

    11 Qatar has promised to hold parliamentary elections but these have not yet been scheduled.

    12 Bangladesh, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Venezuela.

    Chapter 2 Electoral Systems and Election Management

    We are grateful to Hein Heuvelman and Joanna Rozanska for gathering the data used in Table 2.2, and to our editors for their advice and feedback. The usual disclaimer applies.

    1 This chapter deals only with national-level electoral systems. Clearly, another interesting dimension of variation is the large range of different electoral systems at sub-national level, such as in the US (Bowler, Donovan and Brockington 2003), the UK (Farrell 2001b), and Australia (Farrell and McAllister 2006).

    2 The primary emphasis of the standard electoral system classifications is on proportionality variations, which in large part explains our decision to focus on these three components. Clearly there are other dimensions of variation in electoral system design such as: assembly size, electoral threshold (in essence the mirror image of M) and legal thresholds. For more discussion, see Blais and Massicotte (2002); Farrell (2001a). Other features of variation–that significantly affect gender and ethnic minority representation–include gender quotas and reserved seats (cf. Norris 2004).

    3 After district magnitude, the electoral formula also has a significant effect on proportionality. A third characteristic, which has come to prominence quite recently (Lijphart 1994; Taagepera 2007) is assembly size, i.e., the number of seats in the parliament. Technically assembly size is not actually part of the electoral system (and hence is not covered in this chapter) but, in combination with district magnitude, it does have a profound effect on the proportionality of the election result.

    4 More sophisticated classifications are available which give equal attention to all three components of electoral systems (Blais 1988; Taylor and Johnston 1979), but while these may produce more theoretically appropriate typologies they also tend to be somewhat unwieldy.

    5 Note that throughout this chapter (as, indeed, throughout this volume) the number of cases varies depending on data access. This chapter focuses on electoral systems for legislative elections. Inevitably things are much simpler when it comes to presidential elections for the simple reason that just one office holder is being elected, thus by definition ruling out any proportional electoral systems. Here, with very few exceptions (such as Ireland's president who is elected using the alternative vote system), the choice boils down to a single member plurality system or a majority runoff one. About two-thirds of cases use the majority runoff system (cf. Blais and Massicotte 2002).

    6 Another way of reducing the disproportional tendencies of the block vote system is to allow voters to express more than one vote for a candidate. This is known as the cumulative vote, which is now used by a number of states in the US (Bowler, Donovan and Brockington 2003).

    7 In the US this is sometimes referred to as the instant runoff vote (IRV). It is used in San Francisco city elections and is being pushed by the Fairvote group (

    8 See data for all countries on the Comparing Democracies3 website (

    9 For illustrations of how this works in practice, see Blais and Massicotte (2002); Farrell (2001a).

    10 For more on how mixed-member systems can vary, see Farrell (2001a) and Shugart and Wattenberg (2001).

    11 For more details, see Blais and Massicotte (2002), and Farrell (2001a).

    12 On the problems of introducing too much complexity into electoral system design–a feature becoming ever more common in recent times–see Taagepera (2007).

    13 The number of seats a party might win can be limited by imposing a legal threshold on one or more of the tiers of representation.

    14 In itself this is a large and complex area, to which we cannot do full justice in the space we have. As we shall touch on below (and is also developed by other chapters in this volume), there are questions to be asked about the direction of causality, and also about the effects of other institutional and cultural features on some of these relationships. There are also many other potential electoral system consequences that do not feature in our analysis, perhaps most prominent among these being the role of electoral systems (as part of the process of institutional design) in facilitating conflict-reduction and peace-building (e.g., Reilly 2001; Reynolds 1999, 2002).

    15 Clearly the relationship is weaker than shown in earlier studies (e.g., Lijphart 1994). In large part, this is due the large number, and more particularly the range, of countries included in our sample, lending support to Baldini and Pappalardo's (2009) argument in favor of a smaller, less diverse, number of cases in the analysis of electoral system consequences.

    16 As Carstairs (1980) shows, in many cases this shift from SMP to list was via a two-round majoritarian system.

    17 For important critiques, see especially Blais et al. (2004), who find no evidence to support the “socialist threat” thesis. See also Katz (2005) and Rahat (2004) who dispute the simplistic assumptions that underlie these rational choice perspectives.

    18 These were not the only electoral reforms at that time, though they were certainly the most notable. Another democracy to change its electoral system was Israel, which introduced a system for directly electing the country's prime minister (judged as a variant of MMP–see Hazan 2001). This ill-conceived reform was repealed in 2001 (Rahat and Hazan 2005).

    19 More generally, see:

    20 news (last accessed 07.04.2009).

    21 Election Management Bodies have a number of different titles. For instance, the body responsible for the management and administration of federal elections in Australia is known as the Australian Electoral Commission, while the EMB in charge of national elections in Canada is known as Elections Canada.

    22 For a discussion on when EMBs fail in their mandate, see Wall et al. (2006: 297).

    23 In some countries, such as Jamaica and Romania, the tasks of implementation and policy making are in fact split between two separate independent bodies (

    24 That said some countries do have temporary EMBs that exist during election periods only. For instance, in mixed systems, the governmental component of the EMB is sometimes temporary as civil servants are redeployed to their “home” ministry or department outside of election periods (Wall et al. 2006: 17).

    Chapter 3 Political Parties and Party Systems

    1 The formula for calculating the Effective Number of Parties (seats) is 1/(Σseats2).

    2 The author gratefully acknowledges David Llanos-Paez and Anna Mikulska for their help in assembling the data for this section, and Ernesto Calvo for advice on data interpretation.

    3 These terminus data coincide with the most recent of the attitudinal measures.

    4 Such growth could also result from a decline in the number of independent deputies.

    5 Electoral volatility is measured by comparing the sum of the absolute difference between vote percentages for each party between two elections, divided by two.

    6 Details of the factor analysis are reported in Appendix 2. Missing values have been imputed using MICE in R 2.7 and factor analysis was estimated in SPSS 13. Only the first two dimensions were saved, which explained approximately 60% of the variance in the data.

    Chapter 4 Campaign and Party Finance

    1 Broadly speaking, political finance involves the public and private funding of both political parties and individual candidates, and includes routine operational costs as well as the cost of election campaigns. This chapter focuses primarily on the financing of political parties, including the rules that govern both their organizational and their electoral activities. For a useful overview of the funding of election campaigns in particular see the UDNP handbook Getting to the Core: A Global Survey on the Cost of Registration and Elections, available at

    2 See Ackerman and Ayres (2002) for a compelling but unconventional argument that a system of decentralization and anonymity–whereby the recipients are fully unaware of the identity of their contributors–is a much better solution for the problems with political finance than regulation and control, full information or bureaucratic subsidies.

    Chapter 5 Election Campaigns

    I am most grateful to Shaun Bowler David Farrell, Mark Franklin, Michael Hagen, Richard Johnston, Larry LeDuc, Richard Niemi, and Pippa Norris for very helpful advice and comments.

    1 See, for instance, Banducci and Karp's interesting (2003) comparative examination.

    2 Sub-national elections are interesting and important of course, and much of what is discussed here applies there, though perhaps to a differing degree. The same is true for supra-national elections, such as those in the European Union (EU). At these levels referenda have become more important (see LeDuc 2003). For an interesting examination of EU campaigns, see Hobolt (2005).

    3 Sweden is one exception. Here early dissolution of the legislature is prohibited by the constitution. Parties simply have to find some way of forming a government.

    4 There are prohibitions on election campaigning in some countries. In Italy, for instance, explicit campaigning activities cannot start until 45 days in advance of an election.

    5 Canada Elections Act (

    6 In the many countries that use an “open party list,” where voters select candidates to determine the votes for the parties and order of candidates on the party lists, the candidates do matter to some degree.

    7 Federalism also is important, as it influences the degree of decentralization of campaigns (Farrell, 1996).

    8 The specifics of direct elections can differ quite a lot. In the US, senators and House members are both elected from particular geographic areas, while in the Philippines senators are elected at-large and House members are elected from districts.

    9 Where this does not hold, it can be due to differential party support across regions or provinces itself, as in Canada and India (Rae 1971; Riker 1982a; Chhibber and Kollman 2004). Multipartyism at the local level also is important in Canada (Johnston 2008).

    10 While parties tend to play a big role in all parliamentary systems, the tone of campaigns tends to differ a lot depending on the electoral system/number of parties. That is, proportional representation, in increasing the number of parties and the need for coalition government, encourages parties to be less explicitly negative toward potential coalition allies (Powell 2000). This is not the case in majoritarian systems, where the winner takes all.

    11 See also Shugart (2005a).

    12 One interesting exception at present may be Russia, where former President Putin looks to control almost all of the country's politics as Prime Minister.

    13 The nature of news coverage differs across countries in important ways–see de Vreese et al.'s interesting (2006) examination of the 2004 European parliamentary elections.

    14 Exceptions include Honduras, Switzerland, and the US. See also Chapter 4.

    15 A similar pattern holds on the entertainment side. For instance, while more than 70% of the ESPN audience is male, nearly 30% is female. The figures are much the same, in reverse, for the Lifetime Network.

    16 See Internet World Stats at

    17 Note that there are legal restrictions on Internet usage during election campaigns in Japan, though (predictably) these have proved difficult to enforce.

    18 To a lesser extent, they reflect the wealth of countries–the more wealth there is, the more there is to spend.

    19 Although the party or candidate spending the most money does not always win, a certain amount of money is necessary for a candidate to be competitive. Speaking with his tongue partly in his cheek, one American political observer noted, specifically in regard to high-level statewide races in Texas, that even if “you don't have to raise $10 million, you have to raise $8 million.” The observer is Jim Hightower, former Texas Agricultural Commissioner and current political columnist in “The Senate Can Wait,” from an interview in The Texas Observer, January 27, 1989, p. 6.

    20 There is also tremendous variation in Internet consumption, as usage has exploded in some countries and only just begun in many others (Internet World Stats: As of 2009, in North America nearly 75% had Internet access and in Europe almost 50% did; in Latin America the number was less than 25%, in Asia 15%, and in Africa only 5%. The role of the Internet in election campaigns necessarily differs widely across continents, and also across the countries on each continent–see Chapter 6.

    21 These are conservative estimates, as there are other sources of survey error that further complicate things (Wlezien and Erikson 2001). For difficulties in establishing the effects of political communications across individuals, see Zaller (2002).

    22 Even if we had perfect polls–no survey error–at regular intervals over time, it would not be easy to isolate the effects of campaign activities. That is, we could not be sure that the change in the polls we observe is due to a particular event and not the many other things that happen on a daily basis during campaigns, some of which are exogenous, i.e., from outside the campaigns per se.

    23 See also Huber and Arceneaux (2007). There is a lot of experimental research on voter mobilization, much of which has been conducted by Alan Gerber and Donald Green, and is summarized in their 2004 book. One interesting and important finding is that traditional door-to-door canvassing matters much more than more modern approaches, such as telephone calls and direct mail.

    24 In the language of political psychologists, voters are, at least to some extent, “online processors” (see Lodge et al. 1995). That is, they update their preferences based on new information about the parties and candidates.

    25 Campaigns also have a much greater effect during the primaries, when the two major parties choose the candidates to run in the general election (Bartels 1988).

    26 A similar pattern holds in US congressional elections (see Erikson and Sigelman 1996).

    27 The small change also appeared to alter the balance of power in meaningful ways, costing the Conservatives 38 seats, 23 of which went to Labour and 14 of which went to the Liberal Democrats (Norris and Wlezien, 2005).

    28 The logic applies equally well to legislative elections in presidential systems, and is precisely what we observe in US House elections: poll variation over time is about half that for presidential candidates, even in presidential election years (Erikson and Sigelman 1996).

    29 The unfolding of events also appears to have mattered greatly (Clarke et al. 2009).

    30 The “personal vote” also can matter in proportional systems that use open lists (see Shugart et al. 2005). The causal effect of incumbency is debatable–see Fenno 1978; Zaller 1998.

    31 The pattern in referendum elections is very different indeed–see LeDuc (2003).

    32 Based on data from Levada Center in Moscow, Dmitry Medvedev held a 33–25% lead over Sergei Ivanov in the polls at the beginning of 2007 and then fell behind (34–30%) during the summer before regaining it through the fall, in a more crowded field, with Viktor Zubkov in third with 17% and Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhironovsky at 11%. This hinted at an intense campaign leading up to the March 2, 2008, election. Then, in December 2007, Putin endorsed Medvedev, and Ivanov and Zubkov did not stand for election. Medvedev pulled away, winning in the first round with 71% of the vote.

    33 The opposite may be true in the US, where the level and effect of party identification have been on the rise (Bartels 2000).

    34 The extent to which this is true, especially as regards the latter, varies considerably across elections and countries in understandable ways (see Nadeau et al. 2002). See Chapter 9 for more on economic voting.

    Chapter 7 Ideology, Partisanship, and Democratic Development

    1 Many public opinion researchers have questioned whether ordinary citizens can understand and utilize abstract political concepts like “Left” and “Right.” For a discussion of this topic in advanced industrial democracies see Converse (1964), Lewis-Beck et al. (2008: ch. 9), and Fuchs and Klingemann (1989). See Mainwaring (1999) for a discussion on developing democracies.

    2 The data in this chapter are drawn from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. The first module of CSES was conducted between 1996 and 2001 and the second module was done between 2001 and 2006. These data and documentation are available for free download at We supplemented this with the original data for France that included the prospective vote in the 2002 legislative election, the Chilean survey with a corrected Left–Right variable, and the 1998 Philippines survey. The nations in each figure/table vary because some variables are not available in all surveys.

    3 On average, 89% of the public in the CSES nations positioned themselves on the Left–Right scale, and 84% in the 1999–2002 WVS nations that overlap with CSES II. In the WVS, 97% of the Taiwanese respondents place themselves on the Left–Right scale.

    4 The five WVS nations with the highest percentage of Left–Right extremists were: Uganda (50%), Mexico (47%), Morocco (43%), the Dominican Republic (43%), and El Salvador (41%).

    5 The same pattern emerges for the United Nations Human Development Index (r = −0.78) in the CSES nations (logarithmic curve). Furthermore, people are not polarized toward the Left in one nation, and the Right in another; the percentage of both extremists in a nation is positively related (r = 0.51). National affluence is also negatively related to both the percentage of Leftist extremists (r = −0.56) and Rightist extremists (–0.74).

    6 Freedom House codes nations on both political rights and civil liberties. We combined the two scores to measure democratic development. The overall index was recoded so that higher values are more democratic. These data and documentation are available from There is a very strong relationship between national affluence and democracy (r = 0.70), which makes it difficult to separate empirically the distinct effects of these two national characteristics.

    7 To fit the Marxian framework, we code social class as (1) working class; (2) white collar middle class; and (3) self-employed and professionals. Union membership is a three-point scale in most nations: (1) respondent is a member of a union; (2) someone in household belongs to a union; and (3) no union member in household. In some nations the family membership question was not asked, so here we use only a question on the respondent's union membership.

    8 The 2003 Latinobarometer surveyed 17 Latin American nations ( We used a measure of interviewer perceptions of the respondent's social status because an occupation or union question comparable to the CSES was not available. The average correlation (Pearson r) between social status and Left–Right identities was 0.07, and only one nation had a correlation about 0.10.

    9 The CSES coded approximately two dozen religious denominations and those with no religious affiliation. The largest single group was Roman Catholics, followed by Protestants, and then Eastern Orthodox, Muslims, and Buddhists. The religiosity question asked: Would you say you: (1) have no religious beliefs; (2) are not very religious; (3) are somewhat religious, or (4) are very religious? See the study documentation at

    10 We replicated the religiosity and Left–Right analyses with the 2003 Latinobarometer for 17 Latin American nations. The average Pearson r correlation was only 0.06.

    11 Regional differences are often strengthened when they find formal representation in the party system, such as in the UK (Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru), Canada (Bloc Québécois), Germany (the PDS.Linke), and Spain (EAJ/PNV and CiU).

    12 Comparing distinctive populations across nations is complicated because the primary division can be based on race, ethnicity, or language. Table 7.2 uses ethnicity as the most general measure, but in some nations only race was available and this is substituted for ethnic differences.

    13 For instance, education and social class effects are cross-cutting as we have noted. In addition, gender equality and religious values also tap traditional/modern value differences, so the interpretation of these issues can be ambiguous (Dalton 2006a; Inglehart and Norris 2003).

    14 However, the WVS finds that attitudes toward gender equality are often strongly related to Left–Right orientations in less developed nations where the status of women was severely restricted and there are new international pressures to reform gender policies. This is another example of where traditional/modern values may have differential patterns in developing nations and advanced industrial democracies (Dalton 2006; Inglehart and Norris 2003).

    15 Barnes et al. (1988) compared the traditional American party identification question and a party closeness question. They found high correlations between both measures at two timepoints and a general consistency in the correlates of both questions.

    16 The source for the age of the party system is Bargsted (2007). We capped the age of the party system at 100 years, figuring that by this time (or before) party attachments should have reached an equilibrium point. In addition, we adjusted the age of the party system in a few nations because there was an extensive period of a non-democratic regime that would have disrupted partisanship. For instance, the CSES gives the Czech party system an age of 67.5 years in 2002, but the democratic transition was only 12 years earlier.

    17 We replicated the analyses with the CSES Module II nations, which show virtually no relationship between the age of the party system and levels of partisanship (r = 0.03). We suspect this is because the CSES partisanship question is susceptible to short-term electoral effects. For instance, several nations increased partisanship by 20% or more between the two modules; real party identifications would not change so rapidly.

    18 A fully defined model would include social characteristics in predicting the vote. As noted above in the case of region, we expect that when political parties explicitly emphasize social identities, this may increase the influence of social characteristics on voting behavior beyond their relationship with citizens' Left–Right identities. This contrasting pattern of correlations is apparent in some nations in our analyses, but not in others.

    19 We combined GDP/capita and a measure of the ideological polarization of the party system derived from Dalton (2008) in a multiple regression analysis to predict the strength of Left–Right voting in a nation; ideological polarization has a much stronger impact on the degree of Left–Right voting in a nation (ß = 0.72), while national affluence has a more modest impact (ß = 0.23).

    Chapter 8 Political Participation

    I would like to thank Aina Gallego for her assistance and the editors for their comments on a draft of this chapter.

    1 Some studies use “voting age population” as the denominator, but this has the disadvantage of including people who do not have the right to vote (Blais and Dobrzynska 1998; Franklin 2004). The United States is not included because people (mostly) have to register themselves, contrary to almost every other country.

    2 Franklin (2004: 187), for instance, shows a slight reduction in average margin of victory between 1965 and 1999.

    3 A similar definition is proposed by Parry et al. (1992: 19–20).

    4 I leave aside campaign activity, which is also decreasing in most advanced industrial democracies (Dalton and Wattenberg 2000: ch. 3).

    5 For the positive correlation between age and voting see Wolfinger and Rosenstone (1980) and Blais (2000). Dalton (2006b: 72) shows a negative correlation between age and protest activity in the US, the UK, Germany, and France.

    6 For contacting, see Verba et al. (1995).

    Chapter 9 Elections and the Economy

    1 These points of debate are taken up in more detail in two recently published books on individual-level economic voting by van der Brug, van der Eijk, and Franklin (2007) and by Duch and Stevenson (2008). While both studies examine the economic vote in advanced industrial democracies, Duch and Stevenson examine the effect of perceptions of the national economy on actual party choice, while van der Brug et al. look at the influence of aggregate economic indicators on a measure of the utility a voter would get from choosing one party over another (discussed below). The two books also have different points of departure: van der Brug et al. provide readers with a set of shortcomings in empirical work on economic voting and show how their approach corrects for them. Duch and Stevenson, however, begin by developing a competency-based theory for how voters decide in complex environments.

    2 The party of the incumbent chief executive is the party of the prime minister in parliamentary systems and the party of the president in presidential regimes. Parties in government are identical to the party of the chief executive except in cases where the incumbent is composed of a coalition of parties. There are arguments on both sides for which measure is preferred; one might argue, for instance, that “party in government” is better because it does not make sense to treat junior coalition partners as being part of the opposition. On the other hand, it has been shown that voters evaluate parties differently in terms of the economy based on whether or not the party holds the prime minister's office (see, e.g., Anderson 1995).

    3 Complete descriptions of variables and codes used, along with the logistic regression results for each country, are found in Appendix 9.A, available from the Comparing Democracies 3 website

    4 Here a positive economic vote means that a worsening economic perception increases the incumbent's standing in the polls beyond what it would otherwise be.

    5 Indeed, herein lies much of the attraction of economic voting in general: by only knowing two pieces of information, the state of the economy and the incumbent party, voters can cast their ballots in a fashion that serves to hold elected officials accountable.

    6 This may be due to a culture of individualism in the UK or the broad social protections in Denmark that desensitize voters to national economic cycles. Similarly, Feldman (1982: 446) writes that American voters' “belief in economic individualism leads people to accept personal responsibility for their economic conditions, which in turn eliminates any connection between personal well-being and political evaluation.”

    7 As part of their comprehensive study of the American macro-political economy, Erikson et al. (2002: 98) demonstrate that “the subjective economy is somewhat different from the one objectively measured.”

    8 Still more troubling is that the difficulty with separating political evaluations from economic ones increases opportunities for voter manipulation–a point taken up below.

    9 These data are an updated version of those used in Hellwig and Samuels (2008). I thank Eva Coffey and Anna Mikulska for assisting in data collection. A listing of the cases and data sources is found in Appendix 9. B, available from the Comparing Democracies 3 website (

    10 In cases of coalition governments in parliamentary systems, the head of government's party is that of the prime minister. For executive elections we use results from the first or only round of elections.

    11 The source is the Penn World Tables v6.2,, last accessed 06/08. I use GDP change in year “t-1” if the election was held in the first six months of the year, and the change in year “t” if the election was held later in the year. While other macro studies have used measures such as unemployment or inflation, only GDP data are available for our larger global sample.

    12 Age of Democracy is equal to the election year minus the year in which the country first scores +6 or above on Polity IV's −10 to +10 democracy measure. The expectation is that the coefficient on the variable is positive since in older democracies elections are less volatile and, therefore, the incumbent should be better able to maintain a level of votes. Following Hellwig and Samuels (2008), I also include the variable squared to account for the declining marginal impact of years of democratic experience.

    13 To control for possible heteroscedasticity within country-groups, all models are estimated with Huber–White robust standard errors clustered within country-units. This approach is appropriate for data sets where the number of observations exceeds the number of non-missing within-panel time periods. The errors are robust to any type of error correlation within each country-group and assume only that observations are independent across country-groups.

    14 Semi-presidential regimes are those in which there is a head of state (president) and head of government (prime minister), both are directly elected, and the prime minister is accountable to the legislature.

    15 In examining the semi-presidential French case, Lewis-Beck (1997) shows the electoral consequences of the economy depending on whether the executive is unified or divided. Hellwig and Samuels (2008) report similar evidence in cross-national perspective.

    16 An exception are partisan, or issue-priority models of economic voting which assert that voters evaluate parties differently according to the preferences of their key constituents in the electorate–e.g., preferences for curbing inflation relative to lowering unemployment (Hibbs 1977; see also Anderson 1995).

    17 That is, these elections are “opportunistic” in that they are due to government calls. Opportunistic elections are distinguished from those held early for other reasons, such as due to a split in the government's coalition or an election following a failed vote of no-confidence. Following Kayser (2006), I classify an election as occurring early if it takes place before the quarter of the constitutionally mandated end of term.

    18 To see this, we combine the coefficients on Economy and the Economy × Opportunistic interaction term (+0.32 and −0.29) to get a conditional coefficient of 0.03. The large conditional standard error (0.42) makes clear that the economy, on average, has no effect on incumbent vote shares when the government calls an early election.

    19 Though the coefficient on the Economy × Polarization term is not statistically significant, the reported standard error pertains only to two specific combinations of values: the effect of Economy on Incumbent Vote when Polarization equals zero or the effect of Polarization on Incumbent Vote when Economy equals zero.

    20 The KOF Index of Globalization develops indices for three forms of globalization: economic, social, and political. The measure used here is the restrictions sub-component of the economic globalization index, consisting of scores for hidden import barriers, tariff rates, taxes on international trade, and capital account restrictions. Data are available at

    21 This claim is supported by a comparison of means between old and new democracies. The data show that old democracies (those greater than 10 years) more frequently are subjected to early election calls, score higher on the liberalization index, and have more polarized parties than young democracies. Regarding the last of these, some scholars (e.g., Dalton, see Chapter 7) have argued that partisan attachments are a sign of democratic consolidation. Similarly, it may be the case that coherent and distinct policy positions held by elites are part and parcel with democratic consolidation. With consolidation, then, comes a divergence of issue positions and thus greater polarization and less economic voting.

    Chapter 10 Women and Elections

    My thanks to Donley Studlar, Merrindahl Andrew, and Peter Brent for helpful comments and assistance.

    1 The IPU data here are aggregated from those OECD countries that have been continuous democracies since 1949, with universal suffrage (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Iceland, New Zealand, Belgium, Luxembourg, Israel, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, the United States, France, Japan). As elsewhere in the chapter, figures for the parliamentary representation of women refer to the percentage of women in the lower house or the only house of national parliaments/legislatures.

    2 The right of women to participate in public life on an equal basis with men had also been inscribed in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but indirectly and without nearly as much impact as Article 7 of CEDAW.

    3 For more detailed discussion of the effects of different types of electoral system on women's representation see Tremblay (2008).

    4 Matland (2006) argues that what is more important is the related factor of party magnitude–how many seats a party expects to fill.

    5 The Women's List merged into a new Social Democratic Alliance in 1998 of which Sólrún became Chair and, in 2007, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    6 Legislated quotas were introduced in Argentina (1991), Bolivia (1997), Brazil (1997), Costa Rica (1997), the Dominican Republic (1997), Ecuador (1997), Mexico (1996), Panama (1997), Paraguay (1996), Peru (1997), and Venezuela (1998).

    7 France's parity legislation was much more successful in municipal elections, where PR is used for the larger units. In Belgium, the effectiveness of the party list system was enhanced by the introduction of larger district magnitudes at the same time as the parity legislation.

    Chapter 11 Consequences of Elections

    1 There is also a complex and growing literature on the implications of democratic regimes for citizen welfare, especially in its redistributive dimension. Dreze and Sen (1989) argue that no democracy has suffered a real famine. But it seems to be independent media and information that are the causal mechanism, rather than elections as such. Blaydes and Kayser (2008) find the empirical literature on the effects of democratic regimes on income redistribution to be highly mixed; their work suggests that democratic regimes have some redistributive effect on caloric consumption, maybe income generally, under conditions of economic growth. However, works in this literature, including theirs, don't try to disentangle the role of elections per se from other features of democratic regimes.

    2 A famous example is the British electorate's eviction of Winston Churchill as prime minister immediately after World War II, despite his magnificent war leadership. Shortly thereafter Churchill, ostensibly writing about France and Clemenceau after World War I, quoted Plutarch as saying that “Ingratitude towards their great men is the mark of strong peoples” (Churchill, World War II, vol. 1: The Gathering Storm, p. 11).


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    Author Index

    • Achen, Christopher, 172
    • Allen, Mike, 124
    • Almond, Gabriel, 160
    • Altheide, David L., 130
    • Arceneaux, Kevin, 138
    • Banducci, Susan A., 138
    • Bell, Daniel, 144–5, 149, 151, 155
    • Bennett, Stephen Earl, 138
    • Berelson, Bernard, 138
    • Blais, André, 171, 235
    • Blumler, Jay G., 129
    • Bodet, Marc A., 235
    • Boix, C., 39
    • Brady, Henry E., 173
    • Brundtland, Gro Harlem, 213
    • Caldera, Rafael, 237
    • Campbell, Angus, 7
    • Cappella, Joseph N., 137
    • Casas-Zamora, Kevin, 65, 76–7, 83
    • Cheibub, José Antonio, 9, 230
    • Colomer, Josep, 237
    • Converse, Philip E., 133–4
    • Cox, Gary, 234
    • Dahl, Robert, 13
    • Dahlerup, Drude, 211, 218
    • DAlessio, Dave, 124
    • Dalton, Russell, 134, 157
    • De Vreese, Claes H., 138
    • Downs, Anthony, 7, 170–1
    • Drew, Dan, 137
    • Duch, Raymond M., 186, 191, 197
    • Duverger, Maurice, 35–6, 39, 49, 102
    • Epstein, Leon, 49
    • Ezrow, Lawrence, 233
    • Farrell, David, 122
    • Fearon, James D., 189
    • Fording, Richard C., 236
    • Franklin, Mark, 161, 171–2, 191
    • Freedman, Paul, 128
    • Gastil, Raymond, 14
    • Ghandi, Jennifer, 9
    • Gibson, Rachel K., 128
    • Golder, Matt, 233–5
    • Gomez, Brad T., 190
    • Greene, Steve, 157
    • Gurevitch, Michael, 129
    • Hallin, Daniel C., 123–4, 126
    • Hellwig, Timothy, 198
    • Hillygus, D. Sunshine, 138
    • Hooghe, Marc, 174
    • Howard, Morje Marc, 227
    • Huber, Gregory, 138
    • Huff, Barbara, 227
    • Huntington, Samuel P., 38–9
    • Inglehart, Ronald, 146, 150
    • Jamieson, Kathleen Hall, 137
    • Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, 217–18
    • Karp, Jeffrey A., 138
    • Katz, Richard S., 40, 79, 82, 235
    • Key, V.O., 187–8
    • Kim, HeeMin, 236
    • Kinder, Donald R., 137
    • Kirchheimer, Otto, 47
    • Klapper, Joseph T., 121
    • Kostadinova, Tatiana, 169
    • Krosnick, Jon A., 137
    • Lawson, Chappell, 131
    • Lewis-Beck, Michael S., 186–7, 189
    • Lijphart, Arend, 49, 103, 194
    • Lippmann, Walter, 136
    • Lipset, Seymour Martin, 7
    • Lowell, Lawrence, 49
    • McCombs, Maxwell E., 136
    • McQuail, Denis, 136
    • Mair, Peter, 79, 82
    • Mancini, Paolo, 123–4, 126
    • Mansbridge, Jane, 215
    • Margolis, Michael, 128
    • Mazzoleni, Gianpietro, 130
    • Miller, Arthur H., 138
    • Miller, Warren E., 233
    • Neumann, Sigmund, 49
    • Norpoth, Helmut, 200
    • Norris, Pippa, 40, 122, 128, 136; co-editor
    • Opp, Karl-Dieter, 180
    • Ordershook, Peter C., 170–1
    • Page, Benjamin I., 134
    • Parry, Geraint, 179–80
    • Phillips, Anne, 215
    • Pierre, Jon, 80
    • Pitkin, Hannah, 214
    • Powell, G. Bingham, 236
    • Power, Timothy J., 169
    • Przeworski, Adam, 9–10, 230
    • Putnam, Robert D., 181
    • Rae, Douglas, 26
    • Reilly, Ben, 38–9
    • Reynolds, Andrew, 38–9
    • Riker, William, 170–1, 227–8
    • Roessler, Philip G., 227
    • Rokkan, Stein, 7, 39
    • Rucht, Dieter, 178
    • Rule, Wilma, 206
    • Samuels, David, 198
    • Sánchez, Fernando, 158
    • Sarakinsky, Ivor, 78
    • Sartori, Giovanni, 49–51
    • Scarrow, Susan E., 66
    • Schattschneider, E.E., 13, 62
    • Schedler, Andreas, 226
    • Schumpeter, Joseph, 6, 9
    • Semetko, Holli A., 130, 138
    • Shapiro, Robert Y., 134
    • Shaw, Donald L., 136
    • Shugart, Matthew S., 40
    • Sinnott, Richard, 172
    • Snow, Robert P., 130
    • Southall, Roger, 76
    • Stegmaier, Mary, 187
    • Stevenson, Randolph, 100, 117, 186, 191, 197
    • Stokes, Donald, 233
    • Stolle, Dietlind, 174
    • Stramski, Jacek, 233–5
    • Tedesco, John C., 128
    • Teorell, Jan, 174
    • Trenaman, Joseph M., 136
    • van der Brug, Wouter, 191
    • van der Eijk, Cees, 191
    • Vavreck, Lynn, 100, 117
    • Verba, Sidney, 160, 174, 179, 181
    • Wallsten, Kevin, 133
    • Wattenberg, Martin, 157
    • Weaver, David, 137
    • Webb, Paul, 122
    • Weisberg, Herbert, 157
    • West, Darrell, 77
    • William, Andrew Paul, 128
    • Wilson, J. Matthew, 190
    • Young, Iris Marion, 215
    • Zovatto, Daniel, 80

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