Parties, Elections, Governance data
Posted 27/5/2008 16:00 (#34)
Subject: Parties, Elections, Governance data

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1. The case for parties and elections data is a given for EP analysis; the question is how best to obtain accurate and easily assiilated data, that is, based on official eleciton returns and suitable for machine-readable reference through a numbering system; and also for use across national languages/ acronyms and English. I've produced two volumes that do just that: ELECTIONS AND PARTIES IN NEW EUROPEAN DEMOCRACIES (since 1990) and the INTERNATIONAL ALMANAC (going back to national origins). Each national chapter also contains data on the evolution of election laws.

The NEW EUROPE book is now being updated for publication by ECPR Press in spring, 2009, and it takes into account 2008 elections and mergers / splits/ etc since the last EP election and first edition of the book. While the EJPR provides annual reviews of countries (not all back to 1990) and election results, it does not do so in a manner that is linked within a country and within a party name/ code.

The data is important for documenting to a common standard parties across 27 countries, and linking EP partiess (not always the same) with national eleciton parties. It is also very relevant for linking results from survey data to national reports of EP balloting, which will then be aggregated by EP itself into patterns that may lose information.

A record of parties contesting national elections is also important in order to track which national parties have either disappeared by the time of the EP election OR have joined a coalitio or chosen not to fight at the EP level under their own name--an important point in considering second order effects and VOLATILITY BETWEEN elections at different levels.

2. GOVERNANCE PERFOMANCE. Conveniently available contextual data have usually been economic or census data which are interesting in themselves but not directly linked to the performance of government. In recent years more such indicators have come on stream, and they are often uncorrelated with GDP per capita. The Transparency International Perception of Corruption Index is ane example--and it varies substantially within EU member states. As a member of the research and indicators team of TI, I have substantila experience of its construction and use. Freedom House scores vary little within theEU today but can be used to produce "legacy" variables for countries that were not first-wave democracies. The World Bank is also pioneering multi-dimensional indicators of governance.

The CSPP would be glad to collaborate with the Warsaw team in preparing and checking this data base as appropriate. . In the absence of information on the PIREDEU website about what is at hand and procedures it is not possible to be more precise. A meeting in Warsaw or Berlin in early July would make it possible to clarify how best to proceed.

Professor Richard Rose FBA
Director, Centre for the Study of Public Policy
University of Aberdeen

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Posted 16/7/2008 17:38 (#116 - in reply to #34)
Subject: RE: Parties, Elections, Governance data

Posts: 26
Location: University of Oxford, UK
Dear Professor Rose:

Thank you for submitting this proposal to the Open Forum. The PIREDEU Steering Committee met at the end of June to evaluate each of the proposals. We assessed them on the basis of whether they met the following criteria:

* An explicit argument about why the proposed question/coding category merited inclusion in one or more of the PIREDEU data components.

* An explicit argument about the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the question/coding category.

* An explicit case for how the question/coding category facilitates integration and linking of several data components. The PIREDEU Steering Committee preferred proposals that allowed for conceptual integration across the five data components (i.e. voter survey, candidate survey, media study, manifestos and contextual data).

* An explicit consideration of how the proposed question/coding category linked with questions/coding categories in past data collection efforts.

The PIREDEU Steering Committee favoured proposals that ensured over time and across instrument comparability. Moreover, given that the voter and candidate surveys can only contain a limited number of question items, priority was given to proposals with succinct question formats.

On this basis we ranked each question in the proposal as follows:

(1) The proposed item will be included in data collection instrument
(2) High priority proposal that will be included if space and time constraints permit
(3) Proposal can only be included if additional funding is secured
(4) Proposed item is not a priority

The item(s) from your proposal received the following ranking(s):

Instrument: Contextual Data

The CSPP would be glad to collaborate with the Warsaw team in preparing and checking this data base as appropriate. Data base to include data on parties, elections and good governance.
Ranking: 3

Rationale: The contextual team will contact you about possible collaboration.

Thank you again for your participation in this process. We hope that you will continue to use the Open Forum to comment on the questionnaires/codebook that will be posted online on the Forum in the autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Franklin
Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

Sara Hobolt
Deputy Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

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