Quality and Quantity

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Measuring Electoral Control

  • Henk Van Der Kolk


If voters do not pay attention to whatrepresentatives do, representatives are not stimulatedto be responsive. Therefore, electoral control, theextent to which voters base their vote on thebehaviour of representatives is, at least potentially,an important variable in the explanation of thebehaviour of representatives. Moreover, electoralcontrol seems to be an important variable from anormative point of view. In this article four ways tomeasure the minimal level of local electoral controlusing the outcomes of local elections (electoralstatistics) are presented. The general idea behind themeasures is fairly simple. If local elections arecompletely determined by nonlocal factors, then thelosses and gains of local divisions of nationalparties from one local election to another are`identical' across municipalities. A deviation fromthis pattern can be interpreted as an indication ofthe minimal level of local electoral control in aspecific municipality. The measures are externallyvalidated using data from a survey among council members.

(sub-national) elections voting behavior measures 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk Van Der Kolk
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Public AdministrationUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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