“Coalition Policy in Multiparty Governments: Whose Preferences Prevail” [Paper]
In coalition governments, parties need to agree on a common policy position. Whose preferences prevail? The proportionality hypothesis, the idea that coalition partners’ influence on policy is proportional to their share of seats, has been used widely in the literature on democratic representation, ideological congruence, and coalition politics. In my analysis of competing theories for the determination of the policy compromise in multiparty governments, I reject the proportionality hypothesis. My results suggest instead that coalition partners exert equal influence on policy compromises, independent of seats. More extensive analysis also provides evidence for increased party influence on policies when the party is the formateur or closer to the parliamentary median, ceteris paribus. Further, I find no evidence that parties supporting the coalition but not in the government influence the coalition compromise. My findings have important implications for assessing the quality of democratic representation, electoral responsiveness, and coalition policymaking.
“Personal or Party Politics? Voting Behavior Patterns in Western Democracies 1960s-2010s” [Paper]
In casting their ballot, voters need to simultaneously choose a party and a leader. How do they compromise? The decline of party loyalties and the spread of television have led to the expectation of increased leader relevance. I propose a different empirical and theoretical account for the relative importance of parties and leaders for vote choice. I assemble the largest dataset ever used in this regard and directly model voters’ choice. I find that there is not an increase of leader importance over time, but rather a drop in party relevance in the 90s followed by a gradual party comeback. I argue that the drop is a consequence of the end of the Cold War and of the communist ideology that left parties without a vital cleavage over which to structure electoral competition. The subsequent revival of parties suggests that they may have successfully reorganized themselves over new programmatic divides.
“Trading Agreement for Electability? Experimental Evidence from the 2020 Democratic Primary” (with Mayya Komisarchik) [Available upon request]
Understanding how people vote is of fundamental importance for assessing the quality of democratic representation. A common trade-off voters face falls between voting for a party or candidate that is ideologically close (proximity voting) and voting for someone with a very good chance of winning (electability voting). While current research holds that both proximity and electability play a role, it does not distinguish between their relative importance. We use a novel survey experiment conducted throughout the 2020 Democratic primary elections to evaluate how ideology and electability trade off in voters’ minds. We show that receiving information about a candidate’s chances of winning significantly affects voters willingness to select any particular candidate. Importantly, we find that policy agreement matters more than electability in voters’ decisions. Additionally, this study fills a prominent gap in the literature by providing causally identified estimates for the value of an endorsement both on ideological or strategic grounds.
Works in Progress
“Who Does the European Union Represent? Evidence from Eurobarometer Survey Data”
Citizens’ opinion representation is a vital feature of democratic regimes. The European Union has been growing in relevance and span over a large number of countries. Who does the European Union represent? By using the Eurobarometer surveys and a policy implementation dataset, I show that women and older people are less represented by the European Union policy. In particular, women are 8.5% more likely than men to express a majority opinion that does not receive policy representation. I show that women’s representation deficit comes from the the European Union failing to implement majority desired policy changes, especially in gendered-related areas such as consumer and environmental protection. For older people, instead, the differential representation is concentrated almost exclusively on disagreement over the European Union enlargement. Additionally, I show that the patterns of representation are compatible with unequal group engagement, but only for the gender bias. Young people receive a representation bonus even though they are less engaged with the European Union.
“When to Take a Median Party if You Must” (with Tasos Kalandrakis)
We explore the dimensionality of party systems in 55 modern democracies. A traditional one-dimensional (socioeconomic left-right) scale and the median party on that scale are ubiquitous in the literature, but their use may be poorly justified in many countries and elections when other distinct dimensions may be necessary to capture variation in the electorate’s preferences for parties. If a one-dimensional scale is not supported, then a median party on any one dimension need not have that pivotal role that is theoretically expected in a single dimension. In fact, under the weakest assumption possible we reject the one-dimensionality assumption in a significant fraction of the elections under study. When we cannot reject the one-dimensional model, we identify candidate median parties and compare them to median parties obtained from other methods. Our analysis provides parsimonious and actionable information to condition and control for the effect of a median party in empirical models where such an effect is suspected.
“The Value of Information for Strategic Voting: Experimental Evidence from the 2020 Democratic Primary” (with Mayya Komisarchik)