New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica

In the New CSES Country Spotlight series, collaborators from an election study including CSES for the first time discuss its electoral context and the significance of running CSES in the country.

New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica
Ronald Alfaro-Redondo

Costa Rica will join the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) collaborative program of research in the near future. Costa Rica is a singular case. We are talking about the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America. Here, contests are free and fair, electoral rules and institutions are strong and truthful. The Electoral Supreme Court ranks in the top of their counterparts in the world. As a member of the local research team all I can say is that we are eager to be part of this comparative project.

Overall, almost two thirds of the established democracies worldwide have experienced a significant reduction in turnout since 1945. Under typical conditions, the alienation of a growing part of the electorate should ring some alarms in terms of calling the legitimacy of the elected authorities and their decisions into question. Moreover, episodes of lower turnout can be interpreted as showing that voters’ attachments to the political system are fragile and vulnerable. In addition, the circumstances related to lower turnout may cause an enduring effect on individuals’ political behavior. Continue reading “New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica”

New CSES Country Spotlight: Argentina

In the New CSES Country Spotlight series, collaborators from an election study including CSES for the first time discuss its electoral context and the significance of running CSES in the country.

New CSES Country Spotlight: Argentina
Noam Lupu, Virginia Oliveros and Luis Schiumerini

Most of what we know about voting behavior is informed by the experience of advanced democracies. The electoral context in developing democracies, however, is significantly different. Civil society is often weak, poverty and inequality high, political parties ephemeral and attachments to them weak, corruption rampant, and clientelism widespread. We cannot hope to understand how politics in these consolidating democracies unfolds without understanding how voters determine who governs. And we cannot assume that what we know about voters in advanced democracies applies universally to developing ones. Rather, we should take our assumptions and expectations to data.

In order to do just that, we fielded the 2015 Argentine Panel Election Study (APES) that includes The Comparative Study of Electoral Studies (CSES) Module 4. Our study incorporates Argentina into the CSES for the first time, becoming the sixth Latin American democracy in the sample. APES is both the first academic panel survey and the first academic election study ever conducted in Argentina. And it joins Brazil and Mexico as the only countries in Latin America where academic panel surveys have been fielded.

The APES consists of two face-to-face waves of interviews, the first between June 24, 2015 and August 7, 2015, and the second between November 21, 2015 and December 30, 2015. The first wave was based on a nationally representative sample of Argentine voters living in cities of 10,000 inhabitants and more, while the second wave consisted of a panel sample of those wave 1 respondents that agreed to participate again, plus a refresh sample. The first wave of the APES relied on a national household sample of 1,149 Argentine citizens aged 18 years and over. The general design was a stratified multistage cluster sample. The panel design implied that we attempted to re-contact all respondents from wave 1. Our success rate was 68% (780 out of 1,149 original respondents). To compensate for sample attrition, we drew a refresh sample of 626 respondents, selected according to the same procedures described above for wave 1. The wave 2 sample therefore has a sample size of 1,406. Continue reading “New CSES Country Spotlight: Argentina”