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Parties' Policy Programmes and the Dog that Didn't Bark  

2011-11-11 06:19:18|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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However, these conclusions come with four caveats. First, due to measurement issues(discussed below), the empirical analyses are limited to fifteen party systems in Western democracies. While the scope of the study thereby covers a significant portion of the population that I wish to describe (i.e. reasonably stable and well-developed democracies), I am nevertheless cautious about extrapolating these  conclusions to political systems outside of the study. Secondly, the fluidity of the more elegant two-dimensional spatial mapping in a smaller number of countries has been consciously exchanged for uni-dimensional measurements of ideology in order to widen the geographical scope of this study. Nevertheless, an analysis of left-right policy extremism can still be illuminating. With respect to this point, Ian Budge and Michael McDonald comment that, 'while the issues involved in Left-Right divisions do not cover the whole spectrum of democratic research which complements these authors' remarks, and suggests that the left-right dimension captures an important and meaningful component of political competition across the national settings and time period that are under review here.

Thirdly, it should be emphasized that the conclusion that electoral system proportionality does not systematically affect the incentives for parties to take non-centrist positions does not imply that electoral laws exert no influence on party elites' policy strategies; indeed, given the extensive theoretical and empirical literature suggesting that politicians findings do suggest is that, in the fifteen democracies in the study, electoral system proportionality does not exert a significant net effect on party policy extremism. Thus to the extent that proportionality presents parties with incentives to moderate their policies in some circumstances, the results imply that there must be other circumstance where proportionality motivates parties to shift towards more radical policy.

The fourth caveat relates to the first two caveats discussed above , namely that in exploring the research question significant theoretical and practical difficulties are confronted in measuring the dependent variable, average party policy extremism. These issues are explored extensively in the Data and Measurement section, where several alternative measures of average party policy extremism are developed. The fact that the central substantive conclusions hold regardless of which measure is used increases the confidence in the results.

Hypothesis1:
(The proportionality hypothesis) Proportionality increases average party policy extremism along the left-right dimension (i.e. an effect that is independent of the number of parties).

Hypothesis 2:
(The party system size hypothesis) Proportionality increases average party policy extremism along the left-right dimension, indirectly, via its influence on the effective number of parliamentary parties.
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