Comparative Study of Electoral Systems
Summary: The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) is a collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world. The data for participating countries is used for comparative study and cross-level analysis of electoral systems in different jurisdictions.
Main Points: The CSES participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies. The resulting data are deposited along with voting, demographic, district and macro variables. The studies are then merged into a single, free, public dataset for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis.
The research agenda, questionnaires, and study design are developed by an international committee of leading scholars of electoral politics and political science. The design is implemented in each country by their foremost social scientists.
The CSES is composed of three tightly linked parts:
· First, a common module of public opinion survey questions is included in each participant country's post-election study. These "micro" level data include vote choice, candidate and party evaluations, current and retrospective economic evaluations, evaluation of the electoral system itself, in addition to standardized sociodemographic measures.
· Second, district level data are reported for each respondent, including electoral returns, turnout, and the number of candidates.
· Finally, system or "macro" level data report aggregate electoral returns, electoral rules and formulas, and regime characteristics. This design allows researchers to conduct cross-level, as well as cross-national analyses, addressing the effects of electoral institutions on citizens' attitudes and behavior, the presence and nature of social and political cleavages, and the evaluation of democratic institutions across different political regimes.
The initial round of collaboration focused on three general themes:
· the impact of electoral institutions on citizens' political cognition and behavior (parliamentary versus presidential systems of government, the electoral rules that govern the casting and counting of ballots; and political parties);
· the nature of political and social cleavages and alignments;
· the evaluation of democratic institution and processes.
Access to database: http://www.cses.org/verify.htm
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