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Author Preece, Jessica Robinson
Title The Party and the "Personal" Vote: The Impact of Party Control of Ballot Access and Means of Cultivating a Personal Reputation in Mixed-Member Electoral System Countries
book jacket
Descript 112 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-04, Section: A, page: 1429
Adviser: Kathleen Bawn
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of California, Los Angeles, 2010
In countries where electoral rules encourage candidates to develop a "personal vote," parties are generally assumed to be fairly weak. However, parties often have non-obvious ways of influencing the political process, even in ostensibly candidate-centered systems. These include formal or informal control over "ballot access"---candidate selection, nominations, and party list rankings---as well as the ability to co-opt the means of cultivating a personal vote through controlling reputation-building resources like name recognition, campaign funds, pork and patronage, and voting record. This dissertation highlights these ways in which parties are able to undermine the autonomy politicians are assumed to have in political systems that encourage a personal vote
It begins by clarifying the contradictory literature on legislative voting behavior in mixed-member electoral system countries by showing that type of electoral mandate alone does not consistently predict which class of politicians will defect from the party line more frequently; however, when type of electoral mandate is considered in concert with whether parties or voters control ballot access, consistent patterns emerge. Namely, when parties control nominations, politicians tend to vote with the party, even when they are elected under majoritarian electoral rules
The dissertation continues with a close examination of 2004 and 2008 election returns in one mixed-member electoral system country, Lithuania. It finds that even when controlling for a variety of factors such as a politician's voting record, incumbency status, geographic constituency, campaign finance, and performance in previous elections, voters appear to be highly influenced by parties' pre-election ranking of candidates when they allocate their preference votes in the open-list PR component of the election. This suggests that even under electoral laws that promote candidate-centeredness, parties have the ability to exert significant influence over the "personal" vote by controlling resources that politicians need to develop their personal reputation
All of these findings reinforce the point that researchers must consider the full range of both formal and informal electoral incentives that politicians face. The oft-overlooked factor of who controls access to the ballot deserves to be included alongside other electoral incentives. Further, who controls the means of cultivating a personal vote also deserves to be seriously considered. Both of these variables have the ability to significantly alter the chain of accountability between parties and politicians
School code: 0031
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 72-04A
Subject Baltic Studies
Political Science, General
Alt Author University of California, Los Angeles
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