First past the post: when you can lose and still win

First past the post: when you can lose and still win

In this post, Jack Blumenau, Chris Hanretty, Benjamin Lauderdale, and Nick Vivyan aka the electionforecast.co.uk team discuss the likely relationship between seats and votes in the 2015 general election. They show that the geographical distribution of support for smaller parties can lead to large discrepancies in the numbers of votes required to win extra seats. Additionally, they calculate the […]

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Populism has been used to describe countless and often conflicting political parties, but it can be defined

Populism has been used to describe countless and often conflicting political parties, but it can be defined

There are different area-based bodies of literature on populism, which generally define the concept in slightly different ways. As a result, the term ‘populism’ has been attached to a wide variety of political actors. Is it an unfortunate coincidence that the same word has been used for completely different parties and politicians, or is it […]

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Civil servants are taking on an increasingly public role, allowing for perceptions of partisanship to emerge

Civil servants are taking on an increasingly public role, allowing for perceptions of partisanship to emerge

Civil service leaders are appearing publicly more often, in more places, and to a wider range of audiences, than ever before. Does it matter if civil service leaders become more public figures than they have previously? Dennis Grube argues that the reason these changes matter is because the traditional anonymity of civil servants is linked in important ways […]

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Fierce but short-lived: How does economic crisis affect political participation?

Fierce but short-lived: How does economic crisis affect political participation?

The Great Recession that hit Europe in 2008 led to the loss of millions of jobs and soaring levels of unemployment. In a recent study, Anna Kern, Sofie Marien and Marc Hooghe investigate whether the recent crisis depresses or boosts levels of political participation in Europe. They find that economic growth is positively associated with elite […]

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Understanding the institutional roots of persistent policy problems in the UK

Understanding the institutional roots of persistent policy problems in the UK

The UK is facing a number of structural weaknesses that threaten future growth and productivity. Tackling those structural weaknesses requires looking at the institutions, processes and incentives that underpin the formulation of policy, writes Miguel Coelho. His research finds that the performance of the UK Westminster model is, in some respects and compared to some other countries, disappointing, and […]

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Party environments shape the way that we, as citizens, think about politics

Party environments shape the way that we, as citizens, think about politics

The UK’s two-party system is in steep decline, with the number of voters opting to back either Labour or the Conservatives dwindling, and parties such as UKIP, the SNP, and the Greens threatening to alter Britain’s electoral architecture. But how do party environments shape the way we think about politics? April A. Johnson argues that […]

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Lessons for the UK in electoral integrity

Lessons for the UK in electoral integrity

When do elections meet international standards of electoral integrity?  What happens when elections fail to do so? And what can be done to mitigate these problems? The Electoral Integrity Project aims to answer these questions, and in this post, the project’s director Pippa Norris maps out the integrity of elections across the world over the past two years.  Similar […]

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The spread of communications technology may facilitate increases in levels of anti-government violence

The spread of communications technology may facilitate increases in levels of anti-government violence

 Communications technology has developed at an almost bewildering pace since the development of the internet, with first mobiles and then smartphones ensuring that we are in near constant contact with our peers. But what impact has this had on violence, and more specifically anti-government violence. Blake E. Garcia and Cameron Wimpy argue that there is […]

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Contrary to popular opinion, business actors are less successful than citizen groups at lobbying EU legislators

Contrary to popular opinion, business actors are less successful than citizen groups at lobbying EU legislators

How powerful are business interests in lobbying for changes to EU legislative proposals? Andreas Dür, Patrick Bernhagen and David Marshall present findings from an analysis of 70 legislative proposals introduced by the European Commission between 2008 and 2010. They note that contrary to popular opinion, business actors proved far less successful than citizen groups at […]

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Citizens’ assemblies provide an institutional foothold for republican political practices

Citizens’ assemblies provide an institutional foothold for republican political practices

Calls for a UK citizens convention to assess and rethink our current political and democratic arrangements have been frequently heard in the wake of the referendum on Scottish independence, held last autumn. John Grant argues that these conventions can be useful in providing an institutional foothold for republican ideas, which have struggled to find a policy […]

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