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Valence Demystified: PhD Research Proposal

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Masha Zakharova

on 21 September 2016

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Transcript of Valence Demystified: PhD Research Proposal

PhD Research Proposal
Maria Zakharova

Valence Demystified:
Nature, Sources and Consequences of Individuals' Valence Judgments of Political Parties

Goals of this dissertation:
To reconceptualize party valence by bringing it to
an individual level

To explore
the sources
of individual-level valence judgments of political parties

To assess valence effects on voting in
diverse settings

To assess valence effects on
phenomena beyond voting
, such as various characteristics of party systems, the process of government formation and characteristics of governments
Context for current project

Different meanings of the term 'valence'

Roles that valence plays in various research questions

Gaps and contradictions in current literature on valence
Chapter Three: Sources of Valence
How do the short-term factors modify the patterns that have been identified in the previous chapter?

Leader evaluations in the media (measured using the data set by Abney et al., 2013)
Economic indicators

Chapter Four: Sources of Valence
Individual-level analyses:
Impact of valence on the vote choice in elections included in all 3 modules of CSES

Aggregate-level analyses:
Impact of average party valence score instrumented with media reports scores on its vote share

Influence of party valence score variance on its vote share
Chapter Six: Nature and Consequences of Valence
Distribution of parties' average valence scores relative to these parties' positions on the left-right scale in each CSES election
( potential shapes: normal, skewed, bimodal, irregular)

Directional vote bias and skewed valence.

Modeling and computer simulations' analyses
Expand our knowledge about the long-term factors that influence individuals' valence evaluations.

Show how these long-term sources of valence evaluations are modified by the media coverage of political parties and economic indicators.

Examine the influence of valence on voting in a variety of settings

Identify the ways in which valence affects phenomena beyond voting, such as the characteristics of coalition governments.
Chapter Eight: Summary and Conclusions
How do voters arrive at their decisions?
Downs (1957) and his followers:

Voters have specific policy positions (‘ideal points’), and make evaluations of parties and candidates based on the distance of their policy proposals to those positions
One of the challenging approaches:

Valence (may refer to party valence, valence issues, valence politics)
Stokes (1963): introduces
issues (as opposed to

Valence issues involve
“the linking of the parties with some condition that is positively or negatively valued by the electorate”
(p. 373).
Electorate has a
on valence issues, as opposed to varying policy distance associated with position issues.
What is valence?
Two broad meanings of valence:
Emphasis on
voters' perceptions of party or leader competence
in dealing with particular
valence issues
(Green, 2007; Johnston and Pattie, 2011).

Individual-level measurement of valence
: individuals' subjective evaluations of party or leader competence in dealing with valence issues.
Collection of positive qualities associated with a party or a candidate, such as
candidate charisma and competence, party unity and integrity
(Adams et al., 2011; Stone and Simas, 2010).

Often used in models of party positioning and voting behaviour.

Valence is treated as an
aggregate concept
that is constant across the voters.
Valence Issues
Party (or candidate) valence:
Valence in Literature:
Is a prominent explanatory factor in literature on
voting behaviour

Is incorporated in many formal models on
party positioning

Is explored extensively in
media and communications
literature (in terms of positive and negative campaign ads' influence on party valence)

Is explored on the individual level in
(in terms of its components)
The vast majority of studies treat party or candidate valence as a
parameter that does not vary within the population
(i.e., that each party has a certain 'valence score' that is constant among voters).

The problem of case selection: most formal and empirical work on valence is based on
or two-candidate systems.

Although valence is accepted as an important factor that influences voting behaviour and party positioning, there is a very small number of studies that look into
the sources of valence
Deficiencies in current literature on valence:
Chapter One: Literature review
Chapter Two: Research Methodology
Main data set used
: Comparative Study of Electoral Systems ( all 3 Modules); it comprises over 60 election surveys from 1996 to 2011
Chapter Five: Consequences of Valence
The real world data comes from a limited number of countries with
certain set characteristics of party systems

Computer simulations allow one to vary system-level factors and
identify causal relationships.

Research questions:

Are different types of valence distribution more likely to produce a certain type of government (minimum winning coalition, supermajority, single party majority and minority or minority coalition)?

What types of valence distribution are likely to produce bilateral governments?

Do these patterns change with varying number of parties in the system and the ideological diversity of the parties' positions?

Do the patterns identified in the simulations resemble those in the real world?
Thank You!
8 chapters, 5 of which deal with data analyses
Measuring valence on the individual level
-Principal components analysis of 3 questions:
(1) Leader rating (like-dislike, 11-point scale)
(2) Party rating (like-dislike, 11-point scale)
(3) What party is most competent in dealing with the most important issue that faces the country

First principal component

explains 65% to 79% of variance
Measure of valence: its
factor scores
Module 3: composite measure
All 3 modules: party rating (the only variable that is measured across all 3 modules)
This dissertation will:
Chapter Seven: Consequences of Valence
(co-authored with P. Warwick)
Impact of long-term factors on valence judgments:

Distance between an individual and a party on the left-right spectrum

Individual's position on the same or opposite side from a party
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