Governance and policy evaluation

While the Czech Republic makes progress in tackling corruption, the rule of law in Russia continues to decline

The rule of law is a fundamental part of any functioning democracy. As Justine Doody writes, issues of political corruption, judicial impartiality and the separation between elites and the legal system have been historic challenges for both the Czech Republic and Russia. Using recent data to compare developments in both countries, she argues that while the Czech Republic has made […]

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Evidence from Germany suggests that parties are influenced by voters’ preferences in their attempts to form coalitions

How important are the preferences of voters in coalition negotiations? Marc Debus and Jochen Müller assess the potential governments that could have been formed at the state level in Germany from 1990-2009, and relate these to the coalition preferences of voters. They find that there is a reciprocal relationship between parties and the electorate, with voters more likely to support […]

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The ‘Yes’ side will only make progress if they can win the debate about the economics of Scottish independence

With eight months to go until Scotland’s independence referendum, John Curtice reviews the polls. He finds that most indicators continue to suggest that the verdict will be No. He also argues that although the debate will range far and wide in the coming months, the victory will ultimately go to the side that presents the most convincing economic argument. When […]

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Parties’ views on decentralisation are determined by their economic and cultural positions

Decentralisation has been one of the principal forces driving constitutional change in European democracies over the past few decades. Using data covering 284 parties in 31 separate countries, Simon Toubeau and Markus Wagner assess the link between policies on decentralisation, and parties’ ideology on economic and cultural matters. They illustrate that parties form their stance on decentralisation with close reference […]

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Regionalised party systems lead to lower social spending

Regional identities and political parties have become increasingly important in several European countries. Ignacio Jurado studies the level of party system nationalisation in 22 OECD countries and its implication for social policies. He finds that regionalised party systems provide lower levels of social spending, particularly in national health programmes. He also argues that in the current climate of economic challenges, […]

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Citizens in the most corrupt areas of Portugal are more likely to vote in elections

Corruption is a persistent problem in several countries across Europe. Daniel Stockemer and Patricia Calca write that corruption can have two distinct effects: it can either result in citizen disengagement from the political process, or it can lead to increased voter participation as a mechanism for punishing political authorities at the ballot box. Using an analysis of local level data […]

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The road to secession: Estimating the costs of independence in advanced industrial states

What would the economic impact of independence be for a territory such as Scotland or Catalonia? Robert Young writes on the transition costs associated with peaceful secessions. He notes that even in cases where independence would lead to economic benefits in the long run, transition costs may offset these benefits for several decades. These costs largely depend on the extent […]

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National politicians are more likely to base their EU policy on the interests of party followers and big business, rather than the electorate as a whole

The EU is frequently charged with lacking legitimacy, particularly in cases where national politicians make important decisions outside of national political frameworks in Brussels. David Sanders and Gabor Toka use a pair of identical surveys to highlight the EU preferences of ‘elites’ and national electorates. They argue that while citizens generally take their lead on EU issues from national leaders, […]

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    Decentralisation reforms strengthen regionalist parties at the regional level and create an incentive for radicalisation at the national level

Decentralisation reforms strengthen regionalist parties at the regional level and create an incentive for radicalisation at the national level

The effect of decentralisation reforms on the electoral performance of regionalist parties remains unclear. Using data from eleven Western democracies, Emanuele Massetti and Arjan Schakel show that decentralisation reforms influence regionalist parties in different ways across regional and national elections. They write that such reforms undermine regionalist parties in national elections, while strengthening them in regional ones, but also claim […]

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Spain should follow the UK, France and the United States in embracing evidence based social innovation

Public policy evaluation is a key factor in improving public programmes and services. David Casado and Blanca Lázaro assess policy evaluation methods in Spain. They argue that Spain lags behind other developed countries, such as the UK, France, and the United States, in its adoption of ‘evidence based social innovation’ processes. They write that Spanish policy evaluation would benefit from […]

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