The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems Project: An Overview

Ian McAllister Australian National University

David Howell University of Michigan

The Origins of the CSES • Stimulated by ICORE in 1995 — International collaboration among national election studies — Designed to study variations in electoral systems (and other political institutions)

Rationale for the CSES

• Wide Variations Across Countries on…
— Electoral rules — Presidential or parliamentary system — Federalism vs unitary government

— Lines of political conflict

… and more

CSES as a Research Resource

• Electoral engineering • Electoral institutions and the personal vote • Voter turnout • Democracy in divided societies • Competence and legitimacy in new democracies • Economic voting in a globalizing economy …and more

General Project Overview

• Micro dataset
—10-15 minute module with common questions in national election studies — the nature of political and social cleavages and alignments — District level data for each respondent, e.g. turnout —detailed information about democratic institutions

• Macro dataset

Availability of Data

— Public access at

— Archived at ICPSR, Zentralarchiv Cologne
— Project requires survey quality and
uniformity of mode

Module Topics
• Module 1 (1996-2001) —Performance of the System • Module 2 (2001-2006) —Representation and Accountability • Module 3 (2006-) —Electoral Choices

Module 1: Performance of the System
• Topics include… — electoral institutions and political cognition and behavior — the nature of political and social cleavages and alignments — the evaluation of democratic institutions and processes

Module 2: Accountability, Representation
• Topics include… — elections as accountability vs. elections as representation — voter engagement and electoral participation — institutional context and voter choice

Module 3: Electoral Choices • The Electoral Choice Set
— How do choices affect electoral decisions? — How do supply patterns influence choice?

• Dimensions of Choice — Retrospective, prospective
— Ideology

— Performance evaluations

Module 3 Electoral Choices, continued • What happens if choices are not meaningful?
— Decline in electoral participation — New parties may alter the choice set

— Political support may decline

Geographical Coverage, 2005
• Countries included in the CSES —Criteria for inclusion —Around 50 countries as at mid-2005 —Almost all of North America, Western Europe

—Several Latin American countries
—Several democracies in Africa, Middle East —Eleven Eastern European, former Soviet states

Organization and Governance - collaborators - users - Planning Committee - Secretariat

• Planning Committee (PC), elected at Plenary, oversees study and selects collaborators

• Chair of PC currently oversees Secretariat
• Director of Studies manages Secretariat

Module 3 Planning Committee
Ian McAllister (chair) Bernt Aardal Kees Aarts Ulises Beltrán André Blais Yun-Han Chu Russell Dalton Juan Díez-Nicolás David A. Howell Ken'ichi Ikeda

Australia Norway Netherlands Mexico Canada Taiwan USA Mexico USA Japan

Christiaan Keulder Marta Lagos Radoslaw Markowski Ekkehard Mochmann Hermann Schmitt Michal Shamir Sandeep Shastri Gábor Tóka Jack Vowles Bernhard Weßels

Namibia Chile Poland Germany Germany Israel India Hungary New Zealand Germany

Module 3 PC Meetings • International IDEA, Stockholm, October 2003 • Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City, April 2004 • Academia Sinica (IPSAS), Taipei, April 2005 • Planned: —Madrid (early 2006) —Bangalore (late 2006)

Funding and Support: Central
• NSF Funding 2001-2005 —Funds Secretariat at University of Michigan

—Secretariat collects, processes, documents, releases, and supports data
• NSF Funding 2005-2009 —Secretariat nearly fully funded 2005-07 —Partly funded 2007-09 —Additional matched funding required 2007-

Funding and Support: Distributed
• Planning Meetings, Plenaries, Conferences —Local expenses funded by host organizations

—Participants typically arrange their own flight
• In Kind Contributions

—Online Analysis Tool (ASEP, JD Systems)
—European Mirror (Central Archive, Cologne)

Funding and Support: Distributed
• Data Collection —Collaborators fund their own election studies

—PC and Secretariat available to provide letters of support, text for proposals, ideas, networking
—Possibility of seeking some central funds to help increase geographic coverage is being investigated

Promotion and Marketing

• Logo
• Brochure • New web site (
—Website receives 7,000 page requests monthly
—Since a new registration process was implemented in September 2002, persons have registered nearly 5,000 times to download data

Scholarly Activity using CSES
• Some book examples — Pippa Norris, Electoral Engineering — Hans-Dieter Klingemann, The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems: The First Wave — Possible series

• Some journal examples — Special issue of Party Politics — Article Series (Public Opinion Pros, IJPOR etc) — Special issue of Political Analysis

Scholarly Activity using CSES
• CSES Bibliography (available on website) contains approximately 200 entries • Recent and Upcoming Conferences — IPSAS conference held in April 2005 — APSA workshop in 2006 — IPSA panel in Japan, July 2006

CSES Data Collection Standards
Aspired to Standards for Data Quality and Comparability (CSES Planning Committee, 1996) 1. Mode of Interviewing …face-to-face preferred …issue: Internet Module 1: 70% face-to-face 15% mail/self-completion 10% telephone 5% mixed

CSES Data Collection Standards
2. Timing of Interviewing …soon after the election Module 1: 82% of data collections completed within three months after election day 3. Placement of module in post-election questionnaire …CSES Module must be entirely in post-election …single, uninterrupted block of questions …collaborator chooses appropriate location (in post)

CSES Data Collection Standards
4. Population to be sampled …national sample from all age-eligible citizens Sampling procedures …random sampling procedures at all stages …detailed documentation of sampling procedures Sample size …recommend no fewer than 1,000 interviews



Module 1: An average of 1,600 interviews per election study

CSES Data Collection Standards
7. Interviewer training …collaborators should pre-test their instrument …interviewers should be trained in its administration Field practices …make every effort to achieve high response rate …practice refusal conversion …provide data on contacts, attempts, etc. Strategies for translation (and back-translation) …should back-translate and compare …collaborate on translation with others



CSES Datasets

• Micro-level data • Administrative variables • Demographic variables • CSES Module (questionnaire) • District-level data • Macro-level data

Administrative Variables

- Identification variables

- Weights (sample, demographic, political)
- Election type - Date of election - Date of interview - Interview mode - Interviewer and interviewer gender

Demographic Variables • Allows variation in how questions are asked, but provides a standardized coding scheme • Issue: uniformity Age, gender, education Marital status Employment status (respondent, spouse) Number in household Religion, religiosity Language spoken at home Race, ethnicity

CSES Module 2 Questionnaire

01. Political Participation
• • • • • Persuade others to vote a particular way Show support for a party/candidate Contacted a politician Protest or demonstration Worked with others

02. Did a party/candidate contact you? 03. Most important issue

CSES Module 2 Questionnaire

04. Government performance:
• on most important issue • generally

05. Satisfaction with democratic process 06. Is democracy better than any other form of government?

CSES Module 2 Questionnaire

07. Vote choice
• current election • previous election • performance of party voted for previously

08. How well voters’ views are represented in elections 09. Makes a difference:
• who is in power? • who people vote for?

CSES Module 2 Questionnaire

10. Does a leader represent your views? Which one? 11. Does a party represent your views? Which one? 12. Are you close to a party?
• Which parties/blocks? (up to three) • Which closest to? • Degree of closeness

CSES Module 2 Questionnaire

13. Party and candidate placement (up to six parties and six candidates)
• Like/dislike • Left/right • Country-specific scale

14. In your country, level of:
• Respect for freedom and human rights • Corruption amongst politicians

15. Left-right self placement

District-Level Variables Collaborator provides respondents’ electoral district; remaining variables gathered from elsewhere

• • • • • •

Electoral district Number of seats Number of candidates Number of party lists Turnout Percent vote, by party

Macro-Level Variables: Election Macro variables are coded using Macro Report provided by collaborator

- Percent vote
(lower house, upper house, president)

- Percent seats
(lower house, upper house)

- Turnout - Number of portfolios before and after - Size of cabinet before and after

Macro-Level Variables: Election

- Parties (up to nine)
• • • • • • year founded ideological family European parliament political group international organization left-right placement country-specific scale

- Most salient factors in election (up to five) - Electoral alliances

Macro-Level Variables: Electoral Institutions

- Electoral segments
• • • • number of districts, seats votes cast voting procedures electoral formulae

- Compulsory voting - Transferable votes, cumulated votes - Party/joint lists, multi-party endorsements

Macro-Level Variables: Regime Type

- Head of state, head of government
• selection process • powers

- How cabinet can be dismissed - How legislature can be dissolved - Second chamber of legislature - Central/regional/local division of power

What Collaborators Deposit

• Data file (administrative, weights, demographics, CSES Module) • Macro Report • Design Report

• Questionnaire, respondent booklet
• original language • reverse translation

Current Data Releases • Module 1 (1996-2001)

- August 2003 Full Release: 39 election studies, 33 countries
• Module 2 (2001-2006) - June 2005 Advance Release: 26 election studies, 25 countries

Future Data Releases • Module 2 (2001-2006) - Likely to be deposited: 16 new election studies 13 new countries - Next release early 2006

- Mid/Late 2007 Full Release: 42 election studies, 38 countries


Both Module 1 and Module 2
Australia Belgium Canada Chile Czech Republic Denmark Germany New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Slovenia

Only Module 1
Belarus Lithuania Peru Ukraine

Only Module 2
Albania Brazil

Finland France India

Philippines Turkey

Hong Kong
Hungary Iceland Israel Japan Korea Mexico The Netherlands

Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Thailand United Kingdom United States


Under-represented in:
• Africa • former Soviet countries • Latin & South America


Module 1 Belarus (2001) Lithuania (1997) Russia (1999) Russia (2000) Ukraine (1998)
Module 2 Russia (2004)


Website: What’s New

Website: Links to Comparative Projects

Website: Cross-Time Variables List

Website: Download Data

Website: Web Analysis Tool

Website: Planning Committee Activities

Website: Collaborators’ Page

Website: Bibliography

Website: Pre-Packaged Results