Connecting Phases of and Literatures on the Democratic Process


CALL: 2014

DOMAIN: SC - Social and Economic Cohesion





HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: comparative political institutions, democratic process, elections, electoral systems, voters, candidates, parties, parliament, coalition theory, government formation, government duration, portfolio allocation, ministerial selection, ministerial careers, elites studies, mixed methods, analytical eclecticism

START: 2014-08-01



Submitted Abstract

This project’s prime objectives are twofold. First, it seeks to demonstrate the need to study democratic processes with a dynamic approach reflecting the interdependencies between a series of political processes, rather than analyzing them in mutual isolation. In democratic settings these political processes of course involve politicians, but also voters who episodically connect with the world of politicians and (re-)launch the life cycle of governments. In this life cycle, government formation is a fundamental process as it is expected to produce outcomes reflecting and anticipating the (future) choices of the voters. Voters indeed delegate their authority to the agents they choose through elections and, as the latter’s ultimate ‘principal’, will hold them accountable to their actions in subsequent electoral opportunities. Second, in order to come to a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of democratic processes through the analysis of their dynamics, the project calls for a more explicit and systematic connection between theories and methods drawn from electoral studies, coalition studies and elites studies to examine democratic processes. This goal can be achieved by adopting a basic overarching principal-agent theoretical framework and empirical studies using the individual (candidate/MP/minister) as unit of analysis but also an analytical eclecticism approach open to contributions from other disciplines than political science and to a variety of methods as these insights and tools may prove being better suited to the research questions triggered by the study of these interdependent processes. These fields of inquiry are the domains of competence of the applicant who will bring existing empirical data (mainly electoral surveys, voting advice applications repositories and ballot samples) drawn from political science projects undertaken for a series of elections in Luxembourg for further valorisation. These data will be used to test hypotheses arrived at after a first period of research dedicated to a state of the art of theoretical connections made in different literatures across the interdependent processes making for the democratic process. Having the resources of the CSD in terms of scholarly (theoretical, methodological and empirical) expertise at the applicant’s disposal and access to partners in neighbouring institutions will be key to the success of the intellectual and scientific enterprise. The research stay will enhance the international visibility of both the home institution (University of Luxembourg) and the international network ( coordinated by the applicant (one of the goals of the project is the acceleration of the consolidation of the comparative SEDEPE dataset on ministerial careers) through the dissemination of research results in prestigious conferences (MPSA) and publishing venues (journals and book publishers).

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