IES Talk: Mark Kayser

April 26, 2019
Lunch will be served at 11:45 am
POLI Seminar Room, Buchanan C403

Mark Kayser, Hertie School of Governance

“Coalition Prospects, Not Polls: Predicting Policy in Parliamentary Democracies, with an Application to the Environment”

Abstract – Parties decide policy.  Yet, cross-national research into the determinants of policy largely ignores the office- and policy-seeking incentives of parties.   Because parties are strategic and forward-looking, they adopt policy positions to attract potential future coalition partners and increase their probability of remaining in or entering government.  Building on a new measure that combines coalition formation models with polling data to estimate the expected coalition inclusion probabilities of nearly all parties in most developed parliamentary democracies at a monthly frequency, we estimate the effect of coalition prospects on environmental policy in nine parliamentary democracies.  The coalition inclusion probability of green parties — regardless of whether they are in government — significantly predicts the environmental policy stringency of sitting governments.  In contrast, political polling, which does not capture the strategic incentives of coalition formation, fails to predict environmental policy stringency.

Bio – Mark Kayser is Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics at the Hertie School of Governance. His research primarily focuses on elections and political economy. Kayser’s major projects centre on partisan asymmetries in electoral accountability, media reporting on the economy, and the effect of electoral competitiveness on incumbent behaviour. He is Senior Co-editor for comparative political economy for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia and serves on the editorial boards of multiple journals. Before joining the Hertie School faculty, he was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester and was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. Kayser earned his PhD in 2002 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Kayser was selected as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford for 2018/19.