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See detailThe Predictive Power of the Left-Right Self-Placement Scale for the Policy Positions of Voters and Parties.
Lesschaeve, Christophe UL

in West European Politics (2017), 40(2), 357-377

The left-right self-placement scale is often used in political science as a proxy for the policy positions of voters and parties. Yet studies have suggested that, for voters, this relation is dependent on ... [more ▼]

The left-right self-placement scale is often used in political science as a proxy for the policy positions of voters and parties. Yet studies have suggested that, for voters, this relation is dependent on education level. These studies were, however, hampered by data limitations and restricted statistical analyses. In addition, the extent to which the relation between the left-right self-placement scale and policy positions differs for parties and voters has not been explored. This article looks at the differential relation between left-right self-placement and policy positions for voters with different education levels on an integrated dataset containing over 50 voter and party policy positions. It is found that the left-right self-placement scale is a much better predictor for the policy positions of parties than it is for the policy preferences of voters. Robustness checks show that neither the saliency of the policy positions nor their complexity moderates these findings. [less ▲]

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See detailInternationalised banking, alternative banks and the Single Supervisory Mechanism
Howarth, David UL; Quaglia, Lucia

in West European Politics (2016), 39(3), 438-61

This paper sets out to explain the preferences of the seven northern euro area member states on the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) concerning the threshold set for direct European Central Bank (ECB ... [more ▼]

This paper sets out to explain the preferences of the seven northern euro area member states on the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) concerning the threshold set for direct European Central Bank (ECB) control over bank supervision. Building on the concept of the ‘financial trilemma’, it argues that different bank internationalisation patterns in the seven northern member states explain different preferences on the transfer of supervisory powers over less significant banks to the ECB. In particular, the reach of internationalisation into a national banking system – notably the extent to which even smaller banks were exposed to foreign banking operations – is shown to be the core factor explaining different national preferences on threshold. In the five countries with a large number of small and parochial alternative (cooperative and savings) banks, it is necessary to examine the system-specific structures of these banks to explain better the reach of internationalisation and national preferences on the threshold. Determined German opposition to ECB supervision of smaller alternative banks is juxtaposed with either less hostile or more positive support of at least four other countries despite the important presence of small alternative banks. [less ▲]

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See detailNational Parliaments after Lisbon: Administrations on the Rise?
Högenauer, Anna-Lena UL; Neuhold, Christine

in West European Politics (2015), 38(2), 335-354

In the wake of the Lisbon Treaty, much of the academic debate on national parliaments in the EU has focused on the new powers of national parliaments and the potential for the politicisation and ... [more ▼]

In the wake of the Lisbon Treaty, much of the academic debate on national parliaments in the EU has focused on the new powers of national parliaments and the potential for the politicisation and parliamentarisation of the EU. In the process, the role of administrators in the parliamentary control of EU affairs has been neglected. This article addresses that gap by comparing parliamentary administrations to a set of ideal types on the basis of in-depth interviews and a comparative survey of parliamentary staff. This leads to the observation that the roles of parliamentary administrators have been further expanded after Lisbon to a range of tasks that go beyond technical support and include elements of agenda-setting. [less ▲]

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See detailA Panacea for all Times: the Politics of the German Stability Culture
Howarth, David UL; Rommerskirchen, Charlotte

in West European Politics (2013), 36(4), 750-770

The German Stability Culture is frequently pointed to in the literature as the source of the country’s low inflationary policies and, at the European Union (EU) level, the design of Economic and Monetary ... [more ▼]

The German Stability Culture is frequently pointed to in the literature as the source of the country’s low inflationary policies and, at the European Union (EU) level, the design of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In Germany, the term was regularly wielded by central bankers and Christian Democrat (CDU-CSU) politicians to legitimise the move to EMU in the face of a large majority of public opinion opposed, and subsequent EU-level policy developments, particularly in the context of the eurozone debt crisis that erupted in 2009. An ordered probit analysis is used to demonstrate the depth of the German Stability Culture, showing that support for low inflation cuts across all party and ideological lines. Despite this ubiquity, the term has been wielded with regularity only by the centre-right Christian Democrats and is strongly associated with this party. A strategic constructivist analysis is employed to explain this uneven but persistent usage in German domestic politics. [less ▲]

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See detailCombining large-n and small-n strategies: The way forward in coalition research
Bäck, Hanna; Dumont, Patrick UL

in WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS (2007), 30(3), 467-501

Current research on coalition formation is plagued by two serious problems. First, we cannot predict more than about one-third of the Western European governments, and, second, we do not have a good ... [more ▼]

Current research on coalition formation is plagued by two serious problems. First, we cannot predict more than about one-third of the Western European governments, and, second, we do not have a good understanding of the causal mechanisms that explain the effects found in large-n coalition studies. This article illustrates that by combining statistical and case study analyses we can solve these problems. Since statistical analyses are well equipped for measuring and isolating effects, we argue that a coalition study should start with such an analysis. Predictions made in this analysis are then used to select cases. In order to study the mechanisms underlying effects found in large-n coalition studies, we argue for selecting cases that are predicted, and then applying the method of process verification. In order to find new explanatory variables, we argue for selecting cases that are deviant, and then applying the method of process induction. Substantive results of our analysis for coalition theory point to the importance of party strategies based on parties' past experiences, which aim at curtailing present and future costs of competing and governing with other parties. [less ▲]

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See detailParty system(s) and electoral behaviour in Belgium: From stability to balkanisation
De Winter, Lieven; Swyngedouw, Marc; Dumont, Patrick UL

in WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS (2006), 29(5), 933-956

Belgium has one of the most fragmented party systems of any modern democracy. This article asks the following questions: is party fragmentation linked to the importance of the ethno-regionalist vote or to ... [more ▼]

Belgium has one of the most fragmented party systems of any modern democracy. This article asks the following questions: is party fragmentation linked to the importance of the ethno-regionalist vote or to the rules of the electoral system? Has party fragmentation also produced centrifugal or polarised multipartyism (between the regions, but also within Flanders, given the spectacular rise of the Vlaams Blok)? What explains the difference in party fragmentation between Flanders and Wallonia? What are the dimensions of party competition in each community and what are the socio-demographic and attitudinal characteristics of the different electorates? Which steps have the political elites taken to cope with the increasing fragmentation of the party landscape and growing voter volatility? To what extent has the increasing divergence between the regional party systems led to the building of asymmetrical coalitions at the federal and regional levels of government? The splitting of the Belgian party system into two, albeit still fragmented, party systems has further complicated the problems of coordination within a polarised, multicleavage and multilevel system that seriously undermines the stability of the entire political system. [less ▲]

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See detailDo Belgian parties undermine the democratic chain of delegation?
De Winter, Lieven; Dumont, Patrick UL

in WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS (2006), 29(5), 957-976

The Belgian party-archy violates the ideal-type chain of parliamentary delegation in many ways, insofar as political parties play a predominant role at each stage. They channel the delegation of power ... [more ▼]

The Belgian party-archy violates the ideal-type chain of parliamentary delegation in many ways, insofar as political parties play a predominant role at each stage. They channel the delegation of power from voters to MPs, from Parliament to the cabinet, from the collective cabinet to individual ministers, and from ministers to their civil servants. Hence, they can be considered the effective principals in the polity, and many actors of the parliamentary chain of delegation, such as MPs, ministers, and civil servants have been reduced to mere party agents. The extreme fragmentation of the Belgian party system in combination with its increasing need for multilevel coordination have further enhanced the position of political parties in the Belgian polity. Yet, at the same time (since the early 1990s), Belgium has also witnessed a gradual decline in the informal system of partitocratic delegation and clientelistic excesses, thereby giving back part of their autonomy to some formal agents, such as the cabinet, top civil servants and some MPs. Still, one can wonder whether these corrections are sufficient to counter the strong outburst of public dissatisfaction with the way parties have run the country in past decades. [less ▲]

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