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Citizens, Context, and Choice: How Context Shapes Citizens' Electoral Choices

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A large body of electoral studies and political party research argues that the institutional context defines incentives that shape citizen participation and voting choice. With the unique resources of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, this book provides the first systematic evaluation of this topic. A distinguished international team of electoral scholars finds that the institutional context has only a modest impact on citizen political choices compared to individual level factors. Furthermore, the formal institutional characteristics of electoral systems that have been most emphasized by electoral studies researchers have less impact than characteristics of the party system that are separate from formal institutions. Advanced multi-level analyses demonstrate that contextual effects are more often indirect and interactive, and thus their effects are typically not apparent in single nation election studies. The results have the potential to reshape our understanding of how the institutional framework and context of election matters, and the limits of institutional design in shaping citizen electoral behavior.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Citizens, Context, and Choice is an important work that I think belongs on the shelves of all scholars of political behavior. It covers a lot of ground and does so in a focused and rigorous way, building on what we already know about political behavior and yet challenging our understanding." —Christopher Wlezien, Temple University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199599233
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell J. Dalton is Professor of Political Science and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine. He has received a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Mannheim, a Barbra Streisand Center fellowship, German Marshall Research Fellowship and a POSCO Fellowship at the East/West Center. His scholarly interests include comparative political behavior, political parties, social movements, and empirical democratic theory.

Christopher J. Anderson is Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University. He is a team member of the Persistent Poverty and Upward Mobility theme project organized by Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences and the international collaborative project on Making Electoral Democracy Work funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His research focuses on contextual models of politics that view political actors as nested in a variety of social, economic, and political environments that shape and constrain behavior.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction
1. Citizens, Context, and Choice, Russell J. Dalton and Christopher J. Anderson
Part Two: Electoral Participation
2. Electoral Supply and Voter Turnout, Miki Caul Kittilson and Christopher J. Anderson
3. The Influence of Party and Electoral Systems on Campaign Engagement, Jeffrey A. Karp and Susan A. Banducci
Part Three: Electoral Choice
4. The Role of Party Policy Positions in the Operation of Democracy, Robin Best and Michael D. McDonald
5. Left-Right Orientations, Context, and Voting Choices, Russell J. Dalton
6. Follow the Party or Follow the Leader? Candidate Evaluations, Party Evaluations and Macropolitical Context, Yuliya V. Tverdova
7. Context, Political Information, and Performance Voting, Timothy Hellwig
8. Strategic Defection Across Elections, Parties, and Voters, Andre Blais and Thomas Gschwend
Part Four: Electoral Choice and Representation
9. Party Polarization and the Ideological Congruence of Governments, G. Bingham Powell
10. Electoral Supply, Median Voters, and Feelings of Representation in Democracies, Christopher J. Anderson
Part Five: Conclusion
11. Nested Voters: Citizen Choices Embedded in Political Contexts, Christopher J. Anderson and Russell J. Dalton
Appendix: Macro Level Data, Matias Bargsted, Steffen Blings, Christopher J. Anderson, and Russell J. Dalton

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