Does the number of parties to place affect the placement of parties? Results from an expert survey experiment
Title: Does the number of parties to place affect the placement of parties? Results from an expert survey experiment
Citation: Electoral Studies, 2011, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 858–864
ISSN: 1873-6890; 0261-3794
Expert surveys are frequently used in comparative politics to measure the ideological locations of political parties. However, it is possible that increasing the number of parties to place systematically biases results as experts try to fit more actors onto a common space. We test this possibility with an experiment embedded in an “expert” survey – with graduate students serving as our pool of experts to ensure an adequate sample size – by varying the number of parties to be placed in the United Kingdom and Germany. We find some tendency for the variance of Labour and SPD placements to diminish when more parties are present, and for SPD placements to move toward the center given more parties. However, we find no consistent evidence that the number of parties systematically affects mean or median party placements. Our results support the reliability of expert surveys as an indicator of party ideology.
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