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Citizens, Context, and Choice: How Context Shapes Citizens' Electoral Choices (Comparative Study Of Electoral Systems) [Hardcover]

Russell J. Dalton , Christopher J. Anderson

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Book Description

1 Mar 2011 Comparative Study Of Electoral Systems
A large body of electoral studies and political party research argues that the institutional context defines incentives that shape citizen participation and voting choice. With the unique resources of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, this book provides the first systematic evaluation of this topic. A distinguished international team of electoral scholars finds that the institutional context has only a modest impact on citizen political choices compared to individual level factors. Furthermore, the formal institutional characteristics of electoral systems that have been most emphasized by electoral studies researchers have less impact than characteristics of the party system that are separate from formal institutions. Advanced multi-level analyses demonstrate that contextual effects are more often indirect and interactive, and thus their effects are typically not apparent in single nation election studies. The results have the potential to reshape our understanding of how the institutional framework and context of election matters, and the limits of institutional design in shaping citizen electoral behavior.

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The integrative new institutionalism approach of context, institutions and political behaviour makes the book very readable. (Torgeir Krohn, Political Studies Review Vol. 11)

is an important work that I think belongs on the shelves of all scholars of political behavior. It covers a lot of ground and does so in a focused and rigorous way, building on what we already know about political behavior and yet challenging our understanding. (Christopher Wlezien, Temple University)

This volume provides a coherent and ground-breaking account of the subtle ways in which formal and less formal institutions may affect voting behaviour. The use of multilevel analytic methods coupled with new finer measures of political organisation (such as the effective number of parties, and of course party polarization) is to be commended... this volume certainly provides an insightful and rigorous study of the dynamics of voting. (Natacha Postel-Vinay, PhD student in Economic History at LSE)

breaks important new ground in the study of voting behavior, with an exceptionally talented set of contributors providing a variety of studies of how macropolitical contexts affect individuals' electoral choices. The papers are uniformly very good, but this volume is also much more than the sum of its parts. It develops more fully than has ever been done before the concept of "political supply" - the number, distinctiveness, and predictability of choices offered to the voter. And through a number of empirical studies it demonstrates that political supply is a central factor in understanding citizens' choices to participate and the meaning of their vote. This is work that will have to be taken account of in all further studies of electoral choice. (Professor W. Phillips Shively, University of Minnesota)

About the Author

Russell J. Dalton was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine. He has received a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Mannheim, a Barbra Streisand Center fellowship, German Marshall Research Fellowship and a POSCO Fellowship at the East/West Center. His scholarly interests include comparative political behavior, political parties, social movements, and empirical democratic theory. He is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.

Christopher J. Anderson is a team member of the Persistent Poverty and Upward Mobility theme project organized by Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences and the international collaborative project on Making Electoral Democracy Work funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His research focuses on contextual models of politics that view political actors as nested in a variety of social, economic, and political environments that shape and constrain behavior. In particular, he studies how differences in macro-political contexts across countries shape people's cognition and action. He has long been interested in popular consent and inequality in democracies and has written on the popularity of governments, the legitimacy of political institutions, and the link between welfare states and citizen behavior. He is Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University.

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