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- 1st European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
- 2nd European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
About COST Action IS0806
For large-scale democracies, general elections are the ultimate link between societal interests and demands on the one hand, and governmental action on the other. In contemporary Europe, this link - the "electoral connection"- is experiencing a number of threats. One is the European unification process itself due to its inherent diminution of political accountability. Another threat is a far reaching ideological depolarization of electoral choice option. A third results from the changes of European political parties over the last decades. Finally, effective political representation in post-communist societies is threatened by the legacies of communism. Due to diversities in the institutional make-up, socio-political development and recent history, these threats manifest themselves differently in different parts of Europe.
Building on the achievements of the European Voter project, this Action intends to advance the knowledge of the imperfections of electoral democracy in Europe, and to come up with sound conclusions and policy recommendations. There are three major dimensions of innovation: scope, methods, and concepts. The first has to do with the larger number and greater variety of COST countries that will be included in testing models of electoral change. The second consists of an advanced level of methodological sophistication that is made possible by this larger number of electoral contexts under study; more in particular, fully specified multi-level statistical analyses of electoral behavior will become feasible which allow to predict the vote by individual variables,context variables and interactions of the two. Third, the conceptual reach of this COST Action will go well beyond the state of the art by including variables measuring the degree of consolidation of electoral systems, the stability of voter alignments, the structure of party organisation and properties of the system of political intermediation.
This Action will advance the capacity of European researchers to conduct methodologically advanced, information-rich comparative research by constructing the necessary data base and by enabling individual researchers to properly analyze it. This shall be done by establishing a network of scholars and by building the necessary database for a comprehensive co-operative analysis of these threats. To promote the quality and robustness of the output of the Action, a strong emphasis will be put on providing training opportunities for young scholars.