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On the multidimensionality of political competition: Measuring political competition in a Bartolinian Way


Bühlmann, M; Zumbach, D (2011). On the multidimensionality of political competition: Measuring political competition in a Bartolinian Way. In: 1st Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), Dublin, 16 June 2011 - 18 June 2011.

Abstract

Political competition plays a crucial role in the democratic cycle, be it as a possible mainspring of political participation or as the essential element of democratic accountability and responsiveness. Thus, it is not surprising that many scholars focus on the impact and meaning of political competition. Unfortunately, such is very often misspecified as a unidimensional concept. At least since Stefano Bartolini's seminal paper Collusion,
Competition and Democracy (1999, 2000), however, there should be no doubt that political competition is a multidimensional issue that should be treated accordingly. Bartolini identifies four independent dimensions of political competition: The conditions of entry to the electoral contest ('contestability'), the elasticity of the voters' demand ('availability'), the distinctiveness of the political offer ('decidability'), and the incumbents' safety of tenure ('vulnerability').
In our paper we suggest an instrument that relies on this Bartolinian notion of political competition and allows us to appropriately measure the four dimensions. By applying this concept to 30 established democracies, we are able to describe the interdependence of the four dimensions and
use them to create a typology of different models of competition.

Political competition plays a crucial role in the democratic cycle, be it as a possible mainspring of political participation or as the essential element of democratic accountability and responsiveness. Thus, it is not surprising that many scholars focus on the impact and meaning of political competition. Unfortunately, such is very often misspecified as a unidimensional concept. At least since Stefano Bartolini's seminal paper Collusion,
Competition and Democracy (1999, 2000), however, there should be no doubt that political competition is a multidimensional issue that should be treated accordingly. Bartolini identifies four independent dimensions of political competition: The conditions of entry to the electoral contest ('contestability'), the elasticity of the voters' demand ('availability'), the distinctiveness of the political offer ('decidability'), and the incumbents' safety of tenure ('vulnerability').
In our paper we suggest an instrument that relies on this Bartolinian notion of political competition and allows us to appropriately measure the four dimensions. By applying this concept to 30 established democracies, we are able to describe the interdependence of the four dimensions and
use them to create a typology of different models of competition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:competition, democracy, responsiveness
Language:English
Event End Date:18 June 2011
Deposited On:01 Feb 2012 10:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:17
Related URLs:http://www.epsanet.org/generalconference2011.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53657

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