Posts in research

A “normalizing” re-alignment of voting behaviour in East Germany?


I am currently working on a book chapter about “Sozialstruktur und Wahlverhalten in Ost- und Westdeutschland – Konvergenz, Divergenz oder Persistenz?” (Social Structure and Voting Behaviour in East and West Germany – Convergence, Divergence, or Persistence?). In this context I found the remarkable result shown in the following figure.

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Now available as open access article: “Multilevel Analysis with Few Clusters”


Our paper on “Multilevel Analysis with Few Clusters: Improving Likelihood-based Methods” is now published as an open access article by the British Journal of Political Science (Elff, Heisig, Schaeffer, and Shikano 2020), along with a comment by Daniel Stegmueller (Stegmueller 2020) and a response by us (Elff, Heisig, Schaeffer, and Shikano 2020).

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Multilevel analysis when the number of clusters is small


A small number of top-level units in multilevel analysis is a problem that has worried comparativists for quite some time. In a paper that is forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science (Elff, Heisig, Schaeffer, and Shikano 2020) my co-authors and I show that this problem can be satisfactorily addressed by only moderate modifications of common techniques of statistical inference: using restricted maximum likelihood (REML) instead of (ML) estimators (Patterson, and Thompson 1971) and by avoiding the assumption of asymptotic normality for the sampling distribution of coefficient estimates and assume a t-distribution instead. (Satterthwaite 1941; Kenward, and Roger 1997)

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Measuring Democracy: How indices are affected by their institutional origins


An article entitled “Method Factors in Democracy Indicators” just has appeared in Politics and Governance. It analyses the degree to which democracy indicators are influenced by the orginisation that created them. It shows that the origin of indicators in particular affects the detection of change in regimes.

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How ideologies and ideological thinking shape electoral behaviour


A handbook chapter on “Ideology and Electoral Choice” has appeared in The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behavior and Public Opinion.

It discusses various conceptions of ideology – from the history of ideas to (social) psychology and the empirical evidence about the influence of ideological orientations on voting behaviour.

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How religiosity and religious denomination affects electoral behaviour


The Sage Handbook of Electoral Behaviour, contains a contribution of the role of relgion in shaping electoral behaviour, authored by Sigrid Roßteutscher and me is now available from Sage Publications.

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Social structure and the decline in electoral turnout in Germany 1994–2013


German Politics published an article with the title “Social Cleavages and Electoral Behaviour in Long-Term Perspective: Alignment without Mobilisation?” as part of a special issue of the German Bundestag election of 2013.

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Chapter on party preference, turnout and social cleavages in Germany Wahlen und Wähler


A chapter entitled “Parteiwahl und Nichtwahl: Zur Rolle sozialer Konfliktlinien” has appeared in Wahlen und Wähler: Analysen aus Anlass der Bundestagswahl von 2013 (ed. by Harald Schoen and Bernhard Wessels) and is now available from Springer.

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The long-term relation between turnout and electoral support for social democracts in Germany


At the 5th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association I had the opportunity to present a paper entitled “The Crisis of Social Democracy and the Political Demobilisation of the Working Class in Germany”. In this paper I analyse the dual decline of turnout in Germany and of the support for the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). I show that both changes are linked and concentrated in a core group of SPD supporters, the manual working class.

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AK Wahlen paper on ticket-splitting in Germany


At the Session of the AK “Wahlen und politische Einstellungen (the German specialist group on election, electoral behaviour and political attitudes) I had the opportunity to present a paper on split-ticket voting in Germany. In this paper I find that there is more strategic voting in the direct candidate votes than in the list votes, but that most split-ticket voting appears to be non-strategic.

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Tracking parties’ positions using a dynamic idealpoint model


In Berlin, at the Manifesto Project User Conference I presented a paper entitled “Challenges in Tracking Parties’ Positions in Multi-dimensional Policy Spaces by Manifesto Project data: A Dynamic Idealpoint Model and its Extensions”. In this paper I discuss way of reconstructing political positions from coded political texts based on an idealpoint model (introduced in a publication of mine in Political Analysis) as well as some extension of this model that address some challenges, such as different acuity of political aims.

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Estimation techniques: Ordinary least squares and maximum likelihood


A chapter on estimation techniques has appeared in the edited volume Regression Analysis and Causal Inference, edited by Henning Best and Christof Wolf and published by Sage. A companion website is here.

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Data set on “Party Positions in Multiple Dimensions across Time and Space” available


Estimates (or more correctly: predictions) of parties’ positions in multiple dimensions in different countries, spanning the decades from 1945 (1920 for the USA) to 2010 is now available here on my website.

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EPSA paper: Inference for multilevel models when the number of clusters is small.


In a recent article published in AJPS it is claimed that Bayesian estimators have a superior performance in the estimation of the influence of group-level covariates, especially if the number of groups/clusters is small. In the paper presented at EPSA, we show that the problems addressed by Bayesian techniques can also be adequately addressed by a frequentist technique, restricted maximum likelihood, without the problems involved in Bayesian estimation, such as the computational cost and the need to select an appropriate prior.

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A finite mixture approach to tactical voting


A paper entitled Separating Tactical from Sincere Voting: A Finite-Mixture Discrete-Choice Modelling Approach was presented at the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association 2014 in Chicago, Ill. It presents a novel approach to uncover tactical voting from responses in electoral survey studies. The basic idea is that the distribution of observed voting decisions is a finite mixture of non-tactical (aka sincere) and tactical voting decisions, where tactical voting decisions are characterised by choosing - in stead of the full choice set - from a restricted consideration set. This restricted consideration set then contains only those alternatives (e.g. parties’ candidates) that are considered viable by the voter in her respective constituency or voting district.

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Expectation formation and tactical voting in the UK


A paper entitled Information Flows, Expectation Formation, and Tactical Voting was presented at the ECPR General Conference 2013 at the Université de Bordeaux. It examines how results in the previous election (at constituency level) and parties’ current popularity (as expressed in their performance in opinion polls) influence the formation of expectations about parties’ chances at the constituency level and at the national level and how these expectations affect the intention to vote tactically.

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Average political positions of party families


A paper entitled “On the Distinctiveness of Party Families” was presented at the 2014 General Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association. In this paper I describe the average positions (and the development of these) of the party families commonly known in the comparative study of European parties. In this paper I distinguish between three major political dimensions:

Economic Left-Right

Traditionalist vs. Permissive

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Method for reconstructing political positions from political texts published in Political Analysis


A paper on “A Dynamic State-Space Model of Coded Political Texts” has been published as advance access article in Political Analysis. Accompanying this article, there is a data set with positions of parties in the economic and social policy spaces, reconstructed from Comparative Manifestos Project data using the method in the article. The data set is available from the Political Analysis dataverse. I will make a more extensive data set, suitable for multiple imputations and the like, available on my website in the near future. Here is a picture that shows what this method can do:

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New article about electoral volatility in the Netherlands in Acta Politica


An article about “Bounded volatility in the Dutch electoral battlefield: A panel study on the structure of changing vote intentions in the Netherlands during 2006–2010” is now available for advance access from the journal Acta Politica.

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