Party strategies in oligopolistic issue markets - the development of party manifestos in Western and Eastern Europe
Researcher Univ.-Prof. Dr. André Kaiser, Dipl.-Volkswirt Simon Franzmann
Project Description In the ongoing debate over the character of party competition, two theories often go head to head: on the one hand confrontative theory, closely related to Anthony Downs’ conception of the economic theory of democracy (1957), which acts on the assumption of a clearly specifiable dimensionality of policy space. On the other hand salience theory (Budge/Farlie 1983), which focuses on a party’s choice of core issues and their presentation in the election campaign. Both approaches require that party manifestos be analysed in order to arrive at a consistent theoretical formulation and robust empirical tests. A comprehensive data set from the Comparative Manifestos Project (CMP), in which the election programmes for all OECD countries since WWII are coded in 56 categories is available for this purpose (Budge et al. 2001). This data set contains some problems, however, which this project’s researchers corrected by reanalysing the data (Franzmann/Kaiser 2006). The reanalysed left-right-values quickly prompted strong interest in the scientific community and raised the level of the original CMP-values’ external validity.

An updated version of the CMP data set in 2006 (Klingemann et al. 2006) will contain not only OECD party systems, but also party systems in Middle and Eastern European transformation countries. In this current project we will reanalyse the updated CMP data set using methods developed by Franzmann/Kaiser and complement the Central and Eastern European party systems.

Next, we will determine the parties’ core issues and programmatic heterogeneity for each country, according to salience theory. Eventually, a pilot study will reveal how the public perceives core issues and heterogeneity as well as how these are incorporated in the election campaign’s agenda. Our ultimate goal is to improve election forecasts.
Funding The project will receive start-up financing from the Centre for Empirical Economic and Social Research while a proposal for third party funding is being drawn up.
Data
  • Budge, Ian et al.(eds.) 2001: Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Franzmann, Simon/Kaiser, André 2006: Locating Political Parties in Policy Space. A Reanalysis of Party Manifesto Data, Party Politics 12: 163-188.
  • Klingemann, Hans-Dieter et. al (eds.) 2006: Mapping Policy Preferences II: Comparing 24 OECD and 24 CEE Countries, 1990-2003, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Methods Quantitative textual analysis
References
  • Budge, Ian et al.(eds.) 2001: Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Budge, Ian/Farlie, Dennis 1983: Explaining and Predicting Elections. Issue Effects and Party Strategies in Twenty-Three Democracies, London: Allen & Unwin.
  • Downs, Anthony 1957: An Economic Theory of Democracy, New York: Harper.
  • Franzmann, Simon/Kaiser, André 2006: Locating Political Parties in Policy Space. A Reanalysis of Party Manifesto Data, Party Politics 12: 163-188.
  • Klingemann, Hans-Dieter et. al (eds.) 2006: Mapping Policy Preferences II: Comparing 24 OECD and 24 CEE Countries, 1990-2003, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Publications link