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Ideological Clarity in Multiparty Competition: A New Measure and Test Using Election Manifestos

Lo, James and Proksch, Sven-Oliver and Slapin, Jonathan B (2016) 'Ideological Clarity in Multiparty Competition: A New Measure and Test Using Election Manifestos.' British Journal of Political Science, 46 (03). 591 - 610. ISSN 0007-1234

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Abstract

Parties in advanced democracies take ideological positions as part of electoral competition, but some parties communicate their position more clearly than others. Existing research on democratic party competition has paid much attention to assessing partisan position taking in electoral manifestos, but it has largely overlooked how manifestos reflect the clarity of these positions. This article presents a scaling procedure that better reflects the data-generating process of party manifestos. This new estimator allows us to recover not only positional estimates, but also estimates for the ideological clarity or ambiguity of parties. The study validates its results using Monte Carlo tests, a manifesto-drafting simulation and a human coding exercise. Finally, the article applies the estimator to party manifestos in four multiparty democracies and demonstrates that ambiguity can enhance the appeal of parties with platforms that become more moderate, and lessen the appeal of parties with platforms that become more extreme.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jonathan Slapin
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2015 15:58
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15695

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