Coalition Policy in Multiparty Governments: Whose Preferences Prevail” (Political Science Research and Methods, 2024)

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.

 Working Papers

Women's Representation Deficit: Evidence from European Union Policies

The equal representation of citizens’ opinions is a vital feature of democratic regimes. However, I show in this paper that women’s opinions are less represented than men’s in European Union policy. Women are 5.5% more likely than men to express a majority opinion that does not receive policy representation. I investigate the origin of this deficit in women’s representation and observe that the greatest bias is due to not implemented majority desired policy changes in policy areas such as environmental and consumer protection which are particularly salient for women, and in which women hold more liberal opinions and the status quo bias is higher.

Trading Agreement for Electability? Experimental Evidence from the 2020 Democratic Primary” (with Mayya Komisarchik)

All voters will have to resolve a dilemma between choosing their favorite candidate and the one likeliest to win an election at some point. But researchers know surprisingly little about how voters evaluate these choices and whether policy agreement or electability matter more to voters. We use a novel survey experiment conducted throughout the 2020 Democratic primary elections to evaluate how policy views and electability trade off in voters’ minds. We show that policy agreement matters more to prospective voters than electability even in an election centered on electability. We also show that telling voters preferred candidates are less electable makes them 2% less likely to declare an intention to vote for preferred candidates. Additionally, we provide causally identified estimates for the value of endorsements on policy or electability grounds. We show that endorsements made on the basis of policy agreement or electability can affect vote intention by approximately 4%.

Personal or Party Politics? Voting Behavior Patterns in Western Democracies 1960s-2010s

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.

Understanding Sophistication: Reevaluating the Gender Gap in Political Sophistication

Political sophistication, how much people know and understand about politics, is paramount for people's participation in the democratic process. While we know how much people know about politics, we know little about how much people understand about politics. I propose a measure for political understanding, understanding sophistication, based on people’s ability to perform an important political task, the evaluation of the policy position of potential coalition governments. I show that understanding sophistication independently predicts voting behavior and correlates with people's ability to participate in politics. Substantively, I find that women are not different than men in understanding sophistication. This outcome calls into question the existence of a gender gap in political sophistication, highlighting notable distinctions between political knowledge and political understanding. 

Works in Progress

“When to Take a Median Party if You Must” (with Tasos Kalandrakis)

Political Public Media” (with Cantay Caliskan)

“Radical Right Parties and Leaders’ Appeal to Men: Evidence from Western Europe (with Bonnie Meguid)

“Consistency of Turnout and Voting: The Long-Term Effect of Attachment Styles”