My paper “Majority Protection? The Origins of Distorted Proportional Representation” (co-authored with André Walter) has just been accepted for publication in Electoral Studies. Here is the abstract:
Not all proportional representation (PR) systems are equally proportional. Some PR systems favour large parties and are thus ‘distorted’. What explains the origins of distorted PR? Research on the adoption of PR has identified both consensual and conflict- ridden roads to PR. We argue that these two roads to PR do not lead to the same outcome. We expect the adoption of PR by consensus to result in less proportional PR systems compared to cases in which PR is forced upon powerful parties. Empirically, we find no evidence that powerful parties introduced PR to grant minority groups better political representation. Instead, we show that when PR was adopted with the support of the most powerful party, reforms often resulted in distorted PR and small seat losses for the most powerful party.
My contribution to the book symposium on Brooke Harrington’s “Capital without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent” will soon appear in the Socio-Economic Review. The paper is entitled: “Masters of grey zones and elusive champions of the tax ‘optimization’ industry”.
Regulation & Governance just accepted my manuscript “Why Do Junctures Become Critical? Political Discourse, Agency, and Joint Belief Shifts in Comparative Perspective” (co-authored with Adrian Rinscheid, Burkard Eberleinand Volker Schneider. Here is the abstract:
Why do junctures become critical in some cases but not in others? Building on the critical juncture framework and perspectives on the formation and diffusion of beliefs, we develop a theoretically parsimonious and empirically traceable account of divergence in institutional outcomes. By illuminating the role of agency and joint belief shifts we further open the ‘black box’ of critical junctures.In particular, we develop the argument that the role agents play is conditioned by conflict lines that structure an institutional field before a juncture sets in. Empirically, we trace political discourses around the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Canada, Germany, and Japan using Discourse Network Analysis. Through comparative investigation, we show empirically that discursive interactions during potential critical junctures indicate institutional outcomes that are shaped by causally relevant historical legacies.
Our new dataset “Partisan Competition of Cantonal Governments in Switzerland, 1848-2017” is now available. Here is the link to the Harvard Dataverse. Please mention the following source when using the dataset:
Walter, André and Patrick Emmenegger (2018): The Partisan Composition of Cantonal Governments in Switzerland, 1848-2017: A New Data Set, Swiss Political Science Review, forthcoming.
Comparative Political Studies just accepted our manuscript “Women-Friendliness in European Asylum Policies: The Role of Women’s Political Representation and Opposition to Non-EU Immigration” (together with Katarina Stigwall). Here is the abstract:
“Based on the 1951 Refugee Convention, traditional conceptions of refugees typically referred to the politically active male persecuted for his obstructive acts against a communist regime. Yet, today’s asylum seekers are increasingly female with very different experiences of persecution and different reasons to flee their countries of origin.Not all states have updated their asylum policies to reflect the specific situation of women – an issue the refugee crisis in 2015 brought to glaring light. We develop a Women-Friendliness in Asylum Index, which reveals clusters of states within the EU with a solid implementation of women’s rights in their asylum recognition and reception framework, and others whom have yet to adapt their asylum policies to consider women’s needs. In addition, we show that women’s political representation is a key factor in explaining women-friendly asylum policies, while critical attitudes towards immigrants from non-EU countries retard the gendered revision of European asylum policies.”
The Swiss Political Science Review just accepted the paper “National Sovereignty vs. International Cooperation: Policy Choices in Trade-Off Situations” (co-authored with Silja Häusermann und Stefanie Walter). Here is the abstract:
The trade-off between international cooperation gains and national sovereignty has become increasingly salient in recent years. This paper examines how voters assess this trade-off in Switzerland, focusing on the choice between the economic benefits of EU integration versus sovereign immigration control. Using survey data, we identify voters for whom this choice is not clear, either because they are cross-pressured (favouring Swiss-EU bilateral treaties, while opposing increased immigration) or because they do not have clear preferences. We show that these are sizeable groups within the Swiss electorate and that in particular the potentially cross-pressured mainly consist of politically mobilized, high-income voters, supportive of right-wing parties. Among the potentially cross-pressured and voters with indistinct preferences, partisan affiliation with the SVP strongly predicts a preference for immigration control above sustaining cooperation with the EU. Beyond this, our findings suggest that political variables have stronger explanatory power than individual-level economic vulnerabilities in predicting choice.
Business and Politics has accepted my paper (with Lina Seitzl) “When Agents Change Institutions: Coalitional Dynamics and the Reform of Commercial Training in Switzerland” for publication. Here is the abstract:
Historical institutionalist research has long struggled to come to terms with agency. Yet injecting agency into historical-institutionalist accounts is no easy task. If institutions are structuring agents’ actions, while they are simultaneously being structured by these very agents’ behavior, the ontological status of institutions remains unclear. Hence, most historical-institutional accounts, at the conceptual level, tend to downplay the role of agency. However, in this way, they also remain incomplete. Following the “coalitional turn” in historical institutionalism, we develop a new account of institutional change and stability that awards a central role to agency. At the heart of our approach is the notion that both stability and change in institutions presuppose constant coalition building by organized entrepreneurial actors. However, for several reasons, such coalition building is complicated, which ultimately leads to institutional stability. In addition, we argue that relevant state agencies actively shape whether the incumbent coalition or the challenger coalition prevails. We illustrate the potential of our actor-centered approach to institutional change by analyzing the reform of commercial training in Switzerland, tracing developments from the beginning of the 1980s until today.