This book presents the most systematic and consistent study to date of the ‘consequences of context’ for the process through which citizens decide on their electoral behaviour. It derives contextual variation from cross-national and within-country comparisons. The contextual dimensions investigated pertain to the political, economic and social domains, and their impact is investigated on the factors that drive citizens’ decision to participate in an election and on their subsequent decision of which party to vote for. The book thus focuses not on whether people vote and for which party, but instead on more fundamental questions about contextual effects on the determinants of electoral participation and the vote. The analyses are based on an integrated database of national election studies conducted in European countries and utilises an innovative multi-level logistic regression methodology. This methodology, elaborated in detail early on and subsequently applied in each of the following chapters, identifies the moderating effect, or the “consequences”, of altogether nine classes of different context conditions on individual level determinants of electoral participation and party choice.
Hermann Schmitt is Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester and a Research Fellow at the MZES, University of Mannheim.
Paolo Segatti is Professor at the University of Milan.
Cees van der Eijk is Professor of Social Science Research Methods at the University of Nottingham.
Foreword: The True European Voter Project as the Launch Pad for this Book, Eftichia Teperoglou
Preface, Hermann Schmitt, Paolo Segatti and Cees van der Eijk
Chapter 1: Comparing Individual Behaviour Across Contexts: The Core Research Question, Paolo Segatti, Hermann Schmitt and Cees van der Eijk
Chapter 2: Harmonising Data, Analytical Approaches and Analysis Issues, Cees van der Eijk, Lorenzo De Sio and Cristiano Vezzoni
Chapter 3: The Point of Departure: Microlevel Models of Electoral Behaviour, Hermann Schmitt, Paolo Segatti and Cees van der Eijk
Chapter 4: Politicisation of Social Divides, Alberto Sanz, Rosa M. Navarrete, Antonia Ruiz and José Ramón Montero
Chapter 5: Institutional and Party System Effects, Romain Lachat and Eftichia Teperoglou
Chapter 6: Multilevel Governance, Steven Weldon, Ilke Toygür and Hermann Schmitt
Chapter 7: The State of the Economy Before the Election, Eva H. Önnudottir with Pedro Magalhães
Chapter 8: Party System Stability, Sebastian Adrian Popa, Mikolaj Czesnik, Piret Ehin and Ainė Ramonaite
Chapter 9: Ideological Polarisation, Federico Vegetti
Chapter 10: Ideological Structuring, Cees van der Eijk, Lorenzo de Sio and Cristiano Vezzoni
Chapter 11: Populist Competition, Michal Kotnarowski, Monica Poletti, Radoslaw Markowski and Paolo Segatti
Chapter 12: Consequences of Context: What Did We Learn? Cees van der Eijk, Paolo Segatti and Hermann Schmitt
By far, the most promising development in the field of voting behavior over the last years has been its shift from methodological individualism to a more nuanced view of individuals as embedded within a given historical, socioeconomic and political context. No other book better signifies this turn than the current volume, which stresses key dimensions in which the context determines voters’ preferences, elite’s strategies and the interplay between the two. An invaluable source for any well-informed student of comparative political behavior.
This is a superb book by a stellar collection of scholars. Based on the research in comparative political behavior, the authors observe that the micro foundations of voting tend to be the same everywhere and yet the influence of different factors varies across space and time. They then set out to theorize and empirically assess the influence of electoral context, broadly defined, on individuals’ voting behavior. I am impressed by what they have accomplished – from conceptualization to modeling to estimation – and this changed both how I think about context and, especially, how I (and others) will analyze its consequences.