Party Responsiveness

Since my master studies I have been interested in party competition, more specifically if parties are responsive to public opinion. My research interest in this area developed two-fold:

Niche Parties

First, I study niche parties – such as Green, Radical Right & Regional Parties. Scholars’ attention to the concept of niche parties has greatly increased. While researchers agree that niche parties matter in a variety of ways, the definitions and measurements of such parties are manifold and an accordance remains yet to be found. Therefore, I proposed a new conceptual and empirical understanding. Subsequently I use the measure to investigate if niche parties react differently to public opinion. I find that niche parties tend to not adapt their position to the median voter. Lately, I have specifically looked into how niche parties end-up in coalition governments.

  1. 2017. “Towards a Renewal of the Niche Party Concept: Parties, Market Shares and Condensed Offers.” Party Politics 23(3): 220-235.
  2. with Markus Wagner. 2017. “What Makes Parties Adapt to Voter Preferences? The Role of Party Organisation, Goals and Ideology.” British Journal of Political Science: forthcoming.
  3. with Patrick Dumont & Kaare Strøm. “When do Niche Parties Join Coalition Governments?” under review.

Parties & Protest

There is a rich body of literature dealing with the link between the public and political parties, likewise a burgeoning literature on the potential outcomes of social movements and protest exists. Yet these two strands of literature rarely engage with each other.

Taking to the street has become an ever more important toolbox to articulate popular grievances. Social movements have emerged throughout Western advanced democracies and transformed the political landscape in Europe. Also new political parties originated from these social movements – such as Green parties and the New Left. Given these developments it is, therefore, surprising that the link between political parties and protest has largely remained a lacuna in social movement studies and the literature on party competition.

My PhD specifically looked into how parties react the public opinion and protest. My rationale is that besides public opinion polls, political protest will affect party position taking. In three papers I investigate how parties respond to protest and which factors condition parties’ responses to protesters’ claims. I find that while all parties will increase their attention to the issue at stake during protest in an effort to secure votes and/or office, they respond differently to protest contingent on how their ideology relates to protesters’ demands.

  1. “Does Protest Matter? Parties’ Rhetorical Reactions to Protesters’ Claims.”
    • PhD thesis (defended; no corrections)