Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 16, issue 2

Peter Selb and Sandrine Pituctin, "Methodological Issues in the Study of New Parties' Entry and Electoral Success," Party Politics, 16 (March 2010), 147-170. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol16/issue2/.]

First paragraph:
The study of new parties has come a long way. By now, researchers have covered the whole variety of green and left-libertarian (e.g. Kitschelt, 1988; Mu.ller-Rommel, 1985, 1993), right-wing populist and anti-immigrant (e.g. Golder, 2003; Ignazi, 1992; Jackman and Volpert, 1996; Kitschelt, 1995; Van der Brug et al., 2005), anti-establishment (e.g. Abedi, 2002), and regionalist parties (e.g., De Winter and Tu.rsan, 1998); they have focused on the conditions of their formation (e.g. Hug, 2001; Lucardie, 2000; Tavits, 2006) and their subsequent electoral success; they have used case study (e.g. Hug, 1996; Poguntke, 1993) and cross-national comparative designs (e.g. Harmel and Robertson, 1985; Hauss and Rayside, 1978; Hug, 2001; Tavits, 2006); and they have employed statistical, Boolean (Redding and Viterna, 1999) and game theoretic methods (e.g. Hug, 1996).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Estimates from the panel selection model of the GPS's entry and success, 1975-2003 (standard errors in parentheses)

Last Paragraph:
In this article we have identified some potential problems with previous studies of new parties' entry and success. Most importantly, effects of electoral institutions that primarily operate at the level of electoral districts have been regularly specified at the national level. As opposed to the hitherto inconsistent findings, we have been able to demonstrate that district-level electoral institutions played an outstanding role in determining whether the GPS, as our empirical case, stood for elections or not. Future comparative studies would therefore be well advised either to switch the analytical focus to the district level where votes are cast and seats are allocated (e.g. Cox, 1997) or to devise sensible and truly national measures of the permissiveness of electoral institutions. This development is just in its early stages (see Bischoff, 2004; Ruiz-Rufino, 2007; Taagepera, 1998, 2002). However, the latter strategy probably is more fruitful, since the switch-over to the district level entails measurement problems regarding other central variables that are hard to resolve in countries that do not provide an equally rich variety of local-level information on voters' and parties' preferences as does Switzerland with its heavy use of direct democracy. These factors, especially the competitors' responses to electoral demands, have been demonstrated to be crucial for explaining our empirical case. Finally, we have sketched an easily applicable panel selection framework that seems particularly appropriate for the modelling of new parties' entry and success with its inherent dynamics - regardless of whether the analytical scope is inter- or sub-national.

Last updated March 2010