"The Evolution of Methodological Approaches in the Canadian Journal of Political Science"

The article makes three contributions to our knowledge of the Canadian political science literature. First, it offers a historical survey of the methodologies and techniques used in the discipline. Second, the findings of this paper constitute a reference for future work interested in commenting the methods and techniques used in CJPS and provide scholars with data they can use to better situate their work within the broader literature. Finally, the paper answers three questions that permeate discussions of the Canadian political science literature. It investigates whether the proportion of qualitative works has declined over time, whether Canadian scholarship is more qualitative than quantitative today and whether there are important differences in the methodologies and techniques used in Canada and in the United States. The article concludes with a discussion of the future of political science methodology based on the findings.

This article can be accessed here.


"Advancing the Study of Political Cleavages through Experimentation: Revisiting Regionalism and Redistributive Preferences in Canada"

The maintenance of welfare state policies requires citizen support for the provision of a social safety net through taxation and redistribution. Research has shown that a diverse political polity presents a risk to the welfare state; however, Canada bucks the trend and does not see citizen support for economic redistribution decline in response to immigration-based population diversity. Using Canada as our case, we argue that scholars of welfare state politics and redistribution should turn their attention to other sources of population heterogeneity in an effort to better understand how different political cleavages affect citizens’ redistributive preferences. We use an online experimental survey to manipulate the in-group identity of 500 Canadians. The survey enables respondents to identify with other in-group identities along regional, linguistic, income-group, and urban/rural characteristics. Our results find that while Canadians do have a strong baseline preference for redistributive behaviour, regional and linguistic cleavages moderate this outcome.

This article can be accessed here.


"Substate Variations in Political Values in Canada", in Regional and Federal Studies

The article aims to make three methodological and substantive contributions to the literature on substate cleavages in political values. Considerable controversy characterizes this literature. The paper argues that this controversy is due to how indicators representing political values are chosen and constructed. The paper proposes to use factor analysis to select and construct indicators of political values. The analysis identifies five dimensions, which collectively account for 57% of Canadians’ political values. They include support for moral traditionalism, egalitarianism, pluralism, openness to immigration and personal responsibility. Second, the paper shows that there is only limited variation across provinces in political values. Third, the paper shows that this result holds when considering regional variations rather than provincial variations.

This article can be accessed here.


"Nationalism and Ethnic Heterogeneity: The Importance of Local Context for Nationalist Party Vote Choice", in Electoral Studies

This article explores the individual-level correlates of nationalist party vote choice and the extent to which these correlates are conditioned by an individual's local context. We argue that the influence of individuals' policy positions on nationalism should vary in importance for predicting voting for nationalist parties in localities where voters feel threatened culturally or economically. To test this argument we use the case of support for the Bloc Quebecois in the Canadian province of Quebec and data from the 2011 Canadian Vote Compass. We show that voters' policy positions on nationalism become more important in predicting a vote for the Bloc Quebecois when the percentage of English speakers (our proxy for ethno-cultural threat) increases in their locality. By contrast, we find that the relationship between nationalism and support for the Bloc Quebecois is not conditioned by economic hardship in the place where an individual lives. To test the robustness of our findings, we reestimate our models using a different dataset from multiple elections – the Canadian Election Study as well as an additional modelling approach. Our findings contribute to the broader vote choice literature by examining the role that local context plays in individuals' choice of parties. Furthermore, our findings lend support to arguments made in the literature on the importance of an ethno-cultural calculus among voters voting for nationalist parties.

This article can be accessed here.


"To Vote or to Abstain? An Experimental Study of First Past the Post and PR Elections", in Electoral Studies

We test the rational choice model of turnout in the lab. We performed laboratory experiments in which participants had to decide whether to vote or not in a number of first past the post and proportional representation elections. We test the predictions of rational choice theory from three different angles:

(i) First, we compare aggregate turnout with the Nash equilibrium predictions.

(ii) Second, we compare individual decisions with those derived from a rational calculus and count the number of decisions which are consistent with the rational recommendation, and.

(iii) Third, we determine, still at the individual level, whether, at the margin, people are more likely to vote as the expected payoff increases.

The overwhelming thrust of the evidence is inconsistent with the rational calculus paradigm.

This article can be accessed here.

 


"Assessing the Psychological and Mechanical Impact of Electoral Rules: A Quasi-Experiment", in Electoral Studies

The paper assesses the influence of electoral rules on vote choice and election outcomes using a quasi-experiment conducted during a recent Canadian provincial election. Respondents were invited to vote under three voting systems (first past the post, alternative voting and proportional representation) and to answer a short questionnaire. We examine how the distribution of votes and seats is affected, and we ascertain how much of the total difference is due to psychological and mechanical effects. We find that a PR system would have increased legislative fractionalization by the equivalent of one effective party and that the mechanical effect is much more important than the psychological effect. As for AV, its mechanical and psychological effects act in opposite directions.

This article can be accessed here.