Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to propose a method to minimize the difference between electoral predictions and electoral results. It builds on findings that stem from established democracies, where most of the research has been carried out, but it focuses on filling the gap for developing nations, which have thus far been neglected by the literature. It proposes a two-stage model in which data is first collected, filtered and weighed according to biases, and then output using Bayesian algorithms and Markov chains. It tests the specification using data stemming from 11 Latin American countries. It shows that the model is remarkably accurate. In comparison to polls, not only does it produce more precise estimates for every election, but it also produces a more accurate forecast for nine out of every ten candidates. The paper closes with a discussion on the limitations of the model and a proposal for future research. [Forthcoming].
Abstract: It has normally been argued that because compulsory voting systems present higher turnout rates relative to voluntary voting systems, they do not generate as many biases between different groups of voters. This article qualifies that view. It argues that in cases in which compulsory voting does not ensure near-universal participation, there is no certainty that switching to voluntary voting will increase inequalities. This issue is examined by looking at Chile, a democracy that moved from compulsory voting to voluntary voting in 2012. The research finds that while the reform generated class bias in urban districts, it also substantially reduced age bias and, in national elections, equalized participation between small and large districts. The conclusion is that abandoning compulsory voting does not necessarily increase turnout biases, since much depends on the structure of preexisting biases and how these are conditioned by particular electoral institutions. [Download].
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to explore coalition formation in presidential systems using evidence from Latin America. It puts forward three hypotheses based on formateur power, electoral structures and party systems to explore when and why electoral and government coalition formation occurs. It uses evidence stemming from eighteen democratic presidential regimes in Latin America from 1980 to 2010. It looks at 100 elections and 407 aggregate years of democratic government. It analyses data organized in a cross-sectional time-series fashion through a logit function with random effects and robust standard errors. It finds that in democracies with weak presidents, restrictive electoral rules and highly fragmented party systems, the president will seek the support of multiple parties. While the effective number of parties is the most important determinant, rules related to legislative elections are more important predictors of electoral coalitions, and those related to presidential elections are more important predictors of government coalitions. The findings in this article are important insofar as yielding critical insight into partisan strategies in both the run-up to elections and the maintenance of governments, as well as contributing to a general theory of coalition formation. [Download].
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to report the results of Chile’s presidential and legislative elections in 2017 and explore their effect on the party system. It relates the context of the election and suggests that there were three recurring themes that defined both the nomination of the candidates and the tone of the campaign: strong political polarization, two major corruption scandals, and the debut of a new electoral system. It presents the presidential candidates and their main support bases and describes the central points of the election and the main electoral strategies. It reviews, analyzes and interprets the results of the election, highlighting the unprecedented fragmentation in the party system caused by the political and institutional context of recent years. It suggests that as of 2018 the level of fragmentation in the party system is among the highest in its history. We speculate that henceforth governments will be more flexible than in the past and will seek to pass legislation based on multilateral agreements and negotiation. [Download].
I wrote a review for Democratization on Pippa Norris and Ron Inglehart’s (2019) book: Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. I found that its contribution is not only in its account of the rise of authoritarian populism across the Western world, but also in its suggestion of a changing social and political landscape. It shows that the demise of the longstanding left-right cleavage has not been in vain. In its place, a new social and political cardinal map, anchored in a pluralist-populist and a liberal-authoritarian continuum, is rising. You can buy the book here and read my review here.
I wrote a review for Journal of Latin American Studies on Richard Nadeau, Éric Bélanger, Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Mathieu Turgeon and François Gélineau’s book: Latin American Elections: Choice and Change (University of Michigan Press). I found that it makes groundbreaking progress in identifying the applicability of the funnel of causality model in Latin America. Its major contribution is to propose an unprecedented single overarching scientifically unified model of regional voting. Indeed, despite some recent contributions, and a long list of individual country case studies, few efforts have been made in this direction. In many ways, it is the first of its kind. You can buy the book here and read my review here.