How easily do people turn against democracy? In a recent paper, we asked whether losing one election is enough to sour voters on the whole idea of democracy. We find that indeed it can be – if their democracy is relatively new. In addition to this difference between established and emerging democracies, we also find another important pattern: among the established democracies, the type of electoral system affects loser satisfaction, but in newer democracies, it matters much less. These two findings suggest that we need to considerably expand our understanding of “loser’s consent”.
Since “fracking” — a drilling technique that extracts fuels from subterranean rocks by injecting liquid at high pressure — took off a decade ago, U.S. natural gas production has hit record levels and oil production has more than doubled. By some estimates, fracking has injected as much as US$3 trillion into the U.S. economy. But fracking also comes with many environmental dangers that can put peoples’ health at risk. Those concerns are leaving Americans divided about whether it’s good for the country, despite the economic boost. As with other hot-button issues, national opinion polls consistently point to an emphatic partisan conflict. However, Continue reading Is Fracking A Purely Partisan Issue? At Least For Landowners, The Answer Is No
In every democratic country, languishing behind every proud parliament, there are groups who feel ignored by their national governments. They claim that an important issue (immigration, environmentalism, civil rights, self-determination) is being ignored by mainstream politicians, and they grow disaffected as a result. Some of these groups are targets of systematic oppression, whereas others – despite their relative privilege – simply find that politicians are not talking about their issue. But whilst the contexts and the issues may differ, these under-represented groups share at least one problem: they all find their concerns being ignored. Some groups have solved this problem, Continue reading Elections Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg: When Interest Groups And Direct Action Groups Are More Effective Than Political Parties
Since the surprising results of the US presidential election, a lot of websites and blogs have asked how ordinary citizens should react. What is the best way to allocate your participation, if you want to have an actual impact? One of my favourite examples was here, but other examples were here, here, and here. So – what does political science say is the best way to get involved?
What kinds of features would a legislative or pseudo-legislative situation need to have before would we expect the emergence of parties (or pseudo-parties)? The organization of political parties is usually argued to be a response to the collective action problem inside legislatures (Aldrich 1995) or outside legislatures (Cox and McCubbins 1997). But is the mere presence of one or both of these problems enough to trigger the development of organizations that look like parties? I’m thinking particularly of a setting that many of us are probably familiar with – faculty governance. Different colleges and universities have different institutions, but are Continue reading Why Don’t We See Party Organizations In Faculty Senates?
You’re probably familiar with the idea that voting is ‘irrational’. Your one vote doesn’t matter. Sure, there’s some tiny probability that after you vote, your preferred candidate will end up winning by one vote – and in that scenario your vote truly did matter. But outside of that Hollywood script, your vote probably won’t decide the outcome. So why bother with the whole rigmarole of voting? Worse still, imagine that your preferred candidate isn’t even one of the frontrunners. If you support the Greens or the Libertarians, then your tiny probability of deciding the election just got a whole lot Continue reading What Can Dollar-Store Candy Teach Us About Voting? A Rational Choice Argument For Casting A Wasted Vote
This complicated and strange project began innocently enough when I decided to make a mix CD for my friend’s birthday and went searching for relevant songs. But ‘songs about being xx’ turns out not to be a very straightforward thing to search for and so after burning the CD I was left with a burning question: why had I found so few songs? In this blog post, I look at which ages get sung about and which don’t, and I present a comprehensive list of 189 songs that mention being a specific age. You can download the list here, and Continue reading Data Collection Project: Songs that Mention Being a Specific Age
The most recent issue of Party Politics (July 2014) includes my article on why political activists choose to form different types of political organizations (you can find the version of record and abstract here). This work was a core part of my dissertation, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to give an informal overview of it, and particularly some of the more general implications. I think this work is most relevant to people interested in party system size, emerging issues such as environmentalism, and activist behaviour. The basic idea is about how different political organizations can substitute for each Continue reading Explaining A Party System by Looking at the Alternatives to Parties
*spoiler alert* What does Queen Elsa have planned for Arendelle?
Marc Nozell via Compfight With Hilary Clinton seemingly poised to run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, a fair amount has been written on her age (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/21/opinion/frum-hillary-clinton-double-standard/ ). She’s been in the public eye for a long time, which probably explains part of this commentary, and it also seems likely that there’s also a gendered element to it. As a female candidate, she can probably expect increased negative attention on relatively superficial factors like her appearance, tone, and age. But is some of this discussion also rooted in the contrast between Clinton’s experience and Obama’s Continue reading What Role Does Age Play In Presidential Elections?