Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, and Henrik Bech Seeberg. 2022. "The Legislative Agenda in 13 African Countries: A Comprehensive Database," Legislative Studies Quarterly. [Preprint] [Appendix]

While African legislatures have been receiving increasing academic attention in recent years, efforts to expand our understanding of these institutional bodies have been hampered by a dearth of reliable quantitative data regarding their activity and output. To rectify this issue, we have collected and issue-classified data on the legislative agenda in 13 African countries. We leverage this new dataset to explore how democratic development affects the legislative agenda. We show that legislatures in more democratic countries have a larger, broader, and more dynamic agenda, and we propose an extensive future research agenda for legislative politics in Africa.

Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, and Brandon Beomseob Park. 2022. "Armed and Dangerous: Legacies of Incumbent-Military Ties and Electoral Violence in Africa," Electoral Studies. 80: 102531. [Preprint] [Appendix]

While a growing literature explores the danger that authoritarian military legacies pose for regime breakdown, there is little research on the effects of similar legacies in the context of multiparty politics. This is an important gap in the literature since in many cases the introduction of formal democratic institutions has led to neither democratic consolidation nor regime breakdown. We start exploring this lacuna by developing a theory that links the use of violent electoral tactics to the ties of the executive with the authoritarian era’s military. We argue that incumbents with close ties to the authoritarian regime’s military are more likely to instigate election violence. Empirical tests on a sample of 230 elections in 39 African countries since 1974 show that election violence is more prevalent in countries where such ties exist. These findings speak to several areas of study, including those on election violence, and on military legacies.

Michael Wahman, Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, and Tevfik Murat Yildirim. 2021. "From Thin to Thick Representation: How a Female President Shapes Female Parliamentary Behavior," American Political Sicence Review 115.2: 360-378. [Preprint] [Appendix] [Replication materials]

How does the symbolic power of a female president affect female parliamentary behavior? Whereas female descriptive representation has increased around the world, women parliamentarians still face significant discrimination and stereotyping, inhibiting their ability to have a real voice and offer “thick” representation to women voters. We leverage the case of Malawi, a case where the presidency changed hands from a man to a woman through a truly exogenous shock, to study the effect of a female president on female parliamentary behavior. Drawing on unique parliamentary transcripts data, we argue and show that women MPs under a female president become empowered and less confined to stereotypical gendered issue-ownership patterns, leading to a significant increase in female MP speech making. Our results directly address theories of symbolic representation by focusing particularly on intraelite rolemodel effects.

Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, Yuko Sato. 2020. "Echoes of a fading past: Authoritarian legacies and far-right voting," Electoral Studies 66: 102163. [Preprint] [Appendix] [Replication materials]

In recent years, electoral support for the far-right has increased dramatically across the world. This phenomenon is especially acute in some new democracies; however, little attention has been devoted to the effects of the legacies of past authoritarian ideologies. We argue that the ideology of the past regime affects far-right support because voters that were politically socialized under authoritarianism will be biased against its ideological brand. To test this argument, we conduct an individual-level analysis across 20 countries between 1996 and 2018 using a difference-in-difference estimation and a country-level analysis using data from 39 democracies between 1980 and 2018. We demonstrate that voters socialized under right-wing dictatorships are less likely to support farright parties compared to citizens that were socialized under different circumstances. Moreover, support for far-right parties is significantly lower in countries that transitioned from right-wing autocracies. Findings are discussed in light of the contribution to the far-right movement literature.

Brandon Beomseob Park, Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, and Jungsub Shin. 2019. "Who is responsible? The effect of clarity of responsibility on voter turnout," West European Politics 42.3: 464-494. [Preprint] [Replication materials]

Does voters’ ability to discern who is responsible for policy outcomes affect voter turnout? Although particular institutional arrangements which influence this ability – known as clarity of responsibility – appear to affect how voters form retrospective judgements, existing literature is less informed about its role on voter turnout. This article argues that voters tend to turn out less if they cannot discern who is responsible for policy outcomes. This lack of clarity hinders the process of retrospective evaluations, makes the electoral stakes less profound, and dampens the voters’ political efficacy. Using 396 elections in 34 established democracies between 1960 and 2015, it is found that lower clarity of responsibility is associated with lower voter turnout. This study highlights the importance of clarity of responsibility, as it enhances democratic accountability, not only by encouraging retrospective voting, but also by increasing political participation.

Editor Reviewed:

Nikolaos Frantzeskakis, Michael Wahman, and Tevfik Murat Yildirim. 2021. "Malawi: Parliamentary Debate under Executive Dominance" in Bäck Hanna, Marc Debus, and Jorge M. Fernandes (Ed.). The Politics of Legislative Debate. Oxford University Press.

This chapter represents one of the very first quantitative analyses of parliamentary speechmaking in an African democracy. Looking at Malawi in the parliamentary term 2009–2014, we find that MPs in ministerial positions and party leadership speak significantly more than other MPs. We also find that those representing the major opposition party speak significantly more than other MPs. Given the candidate-centric nature of Malawian parliamentary politics and high levels of formal parliamentary openness, these findings run counter to the theory presented in this volume. We suggest that in order to understand speechmaking in the Malawi parliament, one has to take into account both the generally weak position of the legislature vis-à-vis the executive and the role-orientation of Malawian MPs. In a system with high MP turnover rates and ignificant local developmental needs, MPs tend to prioritize constituency development over contributions to the national legislative agenda. With resources highly centered on the executive, backbench MPs are unlikely to see significant benefits in pursuing an active legislative agenda. Consequently, MPs representing the government or those higher in opposition party hierarchies can dominate parliamentary speechmaking.