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The Birth of Party Democracy. The Emergence of Mass Parties and the Choice of Electoral Laws in Europe and North America (1870-1940)

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - partydemocracy (The Birth of Party Democracy. The Emergence of Mass Parties and the Choice of Electoral Laws in Europe and North America (1870-1940))

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

Throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, most western European countries transited from having monarchical regimes with no elections to establishing representative democracies elected under universal suffrage. In the process, electorates organized in different political parties with different ideological and programmatic commitments. The purpose of this project is to examine, in a comparative manner and using newly collected data as well as recently-developed statistical techniques, the emergence of mass parties, the choice of electoral institutions, and the final crystallization of different party systems in Western Europe and North America (and, to some extent, Australia and New Zealand) during that period.

The project is critical to understand the different dimensions (party systems, electoral rules) according to which modern democracies became organized. Those dimensions have been found to affect the management of the economy (such as the size of public debt in response to economic shocks), the structure and generosity of the welfare state, and, generally speaking, the quality of political accountability (the link between citizens and politicians).

The project requires the intensive collection of electoral and socio-economic data at the constituency level and of roll call votes in parliaments. Using that data, it will explore the formation of diverse party systems as the outcome of sequential choices made at particular historical junctures that involved the creation of nonsocialist and socialist parties, the mobilization of their corresponding electorates, and the strategic response of the governing political elites (often through the manipulation of electoral laws and sometimes through the creation of new electoral coalitions).
We have set up a full research team according to the original plan. The team has included: 1 academic coordinator; up to 5 postdoctoral fellows at the peak of the project; 1 data analyst for the full reporting period; 3 research assistants; 1 senior visitor during two academic years.

The research team has been structured as follows. Each postdoctoral fellow has been assigned to 1 country or set of countries and/or 1 topic: Chit Basu and Paulo Serôdio to the United Kingdom; Christophe Lévêque and Filip Kostelka to France; Zsuzsanna Magyar to Scandinavia; Marta Curto, Maayan Mor and Ingrid Maurerer to Germany; Dmitrii Kofanov to Russia; Marc Guinjoan to electoral institutions and, more specifically, malapportionment. The data analyst, who has worked with the digitization of maps and data, has provided support to all of them. The research analysts have worked with all postdocs.

We have collected electoral, social and economic data on France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom for the 19th century up until World War Two, Poland and Russia at the turn of the century, and Spain in the 1930s. We have also proceeded to match the different types of data using digitized maps or simply lists of administrative and political units. Data collection has taken slightly longer than expected: some data has been hard to obtain (particularly for France); even when the data was available, census recording practices turned out to be quite heterogeneous and/or confusing (in places like Britain or Sweden); matching census data and electoral records required building very detailed maps. Overcoming all these problems has been rather time intensive, delaying our initial plans by a few months.

The current products of our research include the following complete papers: “From political mobilization to electoral participation: Turnout in Barcelona in the 1930s” (published in the Journal of Politics), “The Rise of Swedish Social Democracy” (R&R in the British Journal of Political Science); "Democratizing from Within: British Elites and the Expansion of the Franchise” (to be submitted in September); “The Struggle for Political Emancipation and the Formation of Modern National Identities” (to be submitted in the Fall); “Family, Gender Norms, and Social Class: The Political Incorporation of Women in Sweden (1921-1960).”
A/ Work in progress to be closed by the end of 2021.
1. “Democracy Distorted: The Role of Malapportionment in Modern Representation.” Jointly with Pablo Beramendi, Marc Guinjoan and Melissa Rogers.
2. “Development, Inequality, and the Survival of Democracy.” Jointly with Pablo Beramendi and Daniel Stegmueller.
3. “The Long Shadow of the Cross.”

B/ Work in progress to be completed in 2022.
1. “Two ‘Rights’: Liberals and Conservatives in 19th-century Britain”.
2. “Realignment on the Left: From Liberalism to Socialism.”
3. “Legislative Party Unity in the Quasi-State of Nature: Evidence from the French Belle Epoque (1898-1914)."
4. The social basis of German Christian democracy and social democracy (1870-1933).
5. “Far Right Parties in the Russian Empire.”