To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In 1950, members of the American Political Science Association’s Committee on Political Parties argued that voters could exercise greater control over government if the two major political parties adopted clear and ideologically distinct policy platforms. In 2015, partisan polarization is a defining feature of American politics and extreme parties have maintained support elsewhere. This article investigates voter decision-making with ideologically divergent electoral choices and argues that ideological conflict reduces citizens’ responsiveness to candidates’ ideological locations by increasing the role of motivated reasoning in political decision-making. Results from two observational studies and a survey experiment support this account, and the findings are robust across a range of models. These results have important implications for accountability and democratic decision-making in an age of partisan polarization.
Though there is widespread scholarly consensus that American political elites have become increasingly ideologically polarized, there remains debate about how the mass electorate has responded to the increase in polarization at the elite level. This article shows that as party elites have become more polarized, individuals have become better able to identify the party that best matches their own ideological positions, thereby contributing to polarization at the mass level. Using forty years of ANES and DW-NOMINATE data to test this argument, it was found that the relationship between a voter’s position in policy space and their political behavior is indeed conditional upon polarization at the elite level. This finding demonstrates how changes in elite polarization translate to behavioral changes on the mass level.
Existing research shows that the election of members of previously underrepresented groups can have significant consequences for policymaking. Yet, quotas, reserved seats, communal rolls, and race-conscious districting make it difficult to distinguish whether it is group membership, electoral incentives, or a combination of the two that matters. It is argued here that lawmakers who are members of underrepresented groups will stand out as defenders of their group’s interests only when electoral rules incentivize them to do so. This is demonstrated empirically using data from New Zealand, showing that Māori Members of Parliament systematically vary in the extent to which they represent their ethnic group as a function of the three different sets of rules under which they were elected.
Malapportionment doubly penalizes people from relatively large electoral districts or constituencies by under-representing them in the legislature and in the political executive or cabinet. The latter effect has not been studied. This article develops theoretical reasons for large constituency disadvantage in the cabinet formation process, and tests them using a new repeated cross-sectional dataset on elections and cabinet formation in India’s states, from 1977–2007. A one-standard-deviation increase in relative constituency size is associated with a 22 per cent fall in the probability of a constituency’s representative being in the cabinet. Malapportionment affects cabinet inclusion by causing large parties to focus on winning relatively small constituencies. These effects are likely to hold in parliamentary systems, and in other contexts where the legislature influences cabinet inclusion.
Why are voters in some electoral constituencies able to successfully co-ordinate their balloting decisions on viable party offerings, while those in other constituencies are not? Prior work on voter co-ordination failures has focused on institutional and elite-level explanations. This article demonstrates that characteristics of the voting constituencies themselves – specifically their socio-demographic diversity – can play an important role in shaping voters’ collective ability to co-ordinate around viable party offerings. It synthesizes theories of collective decision making from the field of organizational psychology with theories of institutions as incentive structures to argue that diversity inhibits collective co-ordination in some contexts, but not others. In so doing, the article offers a new causal mechanism that links diversity and district magnitude to party system size. The argument is tested using a cross-national analysis of tens of thousands of voters across lower house elections in twelve countries.
How does democratic politics inform the interdisciplinary debate on the evolution of human co-operation and the social preferences (for example, trust, altruism and reciprocity) that support it? This article advances a theory of partisan trust discrimination in electoral democracies based on social identity, cognitive heuristics and interparty competition. Evidence from behavioral experiments in eight democracies show ‘trust gaps’ between co- and rival partisans are ubiquitous, and larger than trust gaps based on the social identities that undergird the party system. A natural experiment found that partisan trust gaps in the United States disappeared immediately following the killing of Osama bin Laden. But observational data indicate that partisan trust gaps track with perceptions of party polarization in all eight cases. Finally, the effects of partisanship on trust outstrip minimal group treatments, yet minimal-group effects are on par with the effects of most treatments for ascriptive characteristics in the literature. In sum, these findings suggest political competition dramatically shapes the salience of partisanship in interpersonal trust, the foundation of co-operation.
The recent proliferation of referendums on sovereignty matters has fuelled growing scholarly interest. However, comparative research is hindered by the weaknesses of current compilations, which tend to suffer from conceptual vagueness, varied coding decisions, incomplete coverage and ad hoc categorizations. Based on an improved conceptualization and theory-driven typology, this article presents a new dataset of 602 sovereignty referendums from 1776–2012, more than double the number in existing lists. In an exploratory analysis, it uncovers eight distinctive clusters of sovereignty referendums and identifies patterns of activity over time and space as well as outcomes produced.
This article builds on existing studies of the long-run persistence of geographical variation in tolerance towards other ethnicities. Using English data, the study tests whether the persistent characteristic is an attitude towards a specific ethnic group, or is an underlying cultural trait of which the attitude towards a specific group is just one expression. It finds evidence for the latter, identifying geographical variation in anti-immigrant sentiment in the twenty-first century that is correlated with patterns of immigrant settlement in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, despite the fact that modern immigrant groups are quite different from those in the Middle Ages.
Because non-voters are less politically informed than voters, some propose that increasing voter turnout would reduce the quality of information among the active voting population, damaging electoral outcomes. However, the proposed tradeoff between increased participation and informed participation is a false dichotomy. This article demonstrates that political information is endogenous to participation. A field experiment integrates an intensive mobilization treatment into a panel survey conducted before and after a city-wide election. Subjects who were mobilized to vote also became more informed about the content of the election. The results suggest institutions that encourage participation not only increase voter turnout – mobilizing electoral participation also motivates citizens to become more politically informed.
While there is broad consensus that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sometimes succeed in influencing policy making within international organizations (IOs), there is much less agreement on the factors that make NGO lobbying effective. This article makes two contributions to this debate. First, the determinants of influence among NGOs active in different IOs, issue areas and policy phases are examined. The analysis builds on original survey data of more than 400 NGOs involved in five different IOs, complemented by elite interviews with IO and state officials. Secondly, the article advances a specific argument about how the strategic exchange of information and access between NGOs and IOs increases NGO influence in IOs. This argument, derived from theories of lobbying in American and European politics, is contrasted with three alternative explanations of NGO influence, privileging material resources, transnational networks and public opinion mobilization, and the broader implications of these results for research on NGOs in global governance are explored.
Researchers have puzzled over the finding that countries that ratify UN human rights treaties such as the Convention Against Torture are more likely to abuse human rights than non-ratifiers over time. This article presents evidence that the changing standard of accountability – the set of expectations that monitoring agencies use to hold states responsible for repressive actions – conceals real improvements to the level of respect for human rights in data derived from monitoring reports. Using a novel dataset that accounts for systematic changes to human rights reports, it is demonstrated that the ratification of human rights treaties is associated with higher levels of respect for human rights. This positive relationship is robust to a variety of measurement strategies and model specifications.