Chicago / MPSA 2010

This weekend I will be attending the Midwest Political Science Association Conference, in Chicago 22-25 April, 2010. You can find the program and some papers here. These are the abstracts of the papers that we will deliver at the conference.

Subsidized democracy? The effect of public funding to political parties in electoral competitiveness

Javier Aparicio and Jacaranda Pérez (IFE)

[Session 22-19 Comparative Electoral Analysis. Saturday, April 24 10:25 am]

Public funding to political parties has been adopted in a large number of democracies over the last several decades. Public funding seeks two major goals: 1) to level the playing field in electoral races, which should make elections more competitive; and 2) to reduce the entry costs for new political parties, which should enhance the representativeness of the electoral system.  However, there is scant evidence on whether or not any of these objectives are actually achieved. Using a panel dataset of national elections in OECD countries over the 1945 to 2008 period, we estimate the effect of public funding on the competitiveness of both parliamentary and presidential elections.  Our results indicate that public funding is associated with narrower margins of victory and a larger effective number of political parties.  On the other hand, public funding may be associated with lower turnout levels.

The Mexican Supreme Court: Judicial Activism in New Constitutional Courts

Jenny Guardado (NYU) and Javier Aparicio

[Session 3-24 Political Institutions in Contemporary Mexico. Saturday, April 24 12:45 pm]

Under what conditions do newly established constitutional courts exercise their judicial review powers? Recent studies of judicial decision-making have ignored the political process leading to the ling of a case, which creates sample selection problems: Are constitutional courts more active because they receive more cases that are “likely to succeed”, or because the political conditions of each case have a role in the court’s final rulings? We address this issue by exploiting the longitudinal variation in a novel dataset of all constitutional cases presented by sub-national actors to the Mexican Supreme Court from 1995 to 2005. We use sample selection and propensity score matching models to estimate the likelihood of a positive ruling from the court, conditional on the factors that led to the filing of a case in the first place. Our results indicate that sub-national political pluralism is associated with a higher likelihood of judicial activity. Specifically, the Court’s rulings are more likely to change the status-quo when political fragmentation or competition is higher. Moreover, we find that this effect varies depending on the likelihood of presenting a case. Finally, we find that the partisanship of the actors involved have a lesser impact.