Institutskolloquium: A Socialist Threat?

André Walter am Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2018, 16-18 h c.t. im Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Raum 124

André Walter

A Socialist Threat?
Radical Party Entry and the Formation
of Electoral Alliances in Majoritarian Systems

Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2018, 16 18 h c.t.
Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Raum 124

How do electoral strategies of establish parties against radical competitors differ between electoral systems? In this presentation, I advance the existing literature by focusing on majoritarian electoral systems. I argue that center parties react to electoral threats from both sides of the political spectrum by forging electoral alliances. Electoral alliances, i.e. voter base pooling of different parties, aim at excluding radical parties from gaining parliamentary representation, even if the latter enjoys considerable electoral support in some districts. I engage in the electoral systems choice debate and employ newly collected district data for all elections with runoffs in Imperial Germany between 1890 and 1912 to examine the effect of electoral strength of the Social Democratic Party on the alliance behavior of non-socialist parties. To obtain convincing causal estimates, I employ a regression discontinuity design. The paper thus contributes to the literature on the introduction of PR, the emergence of radical parties and the transformation of party systems as well as the link between electoral systems and the breakdown of democratic regimes.

André Walter studied Sociology, Political Science, Social/Cultural Anthropology and Gender Studies in Zurich and Jena and received his PhD in Political Science from the University of St. Gallen. In his research, he focuses on the origins of political and redistributive institutions, the preference formation of political actors and statistical methods. His work has been published in sociological and political science journals such as the Journal of Politics and the Journal of World-Systems Research