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Report to CSES Collaborators of Decisions Taken by the CSES Planning Committee at Santiago, March 24-25, 2001

W. P. Shively
April 26, 2001

  1. Procedures for data acquisition, cleaning and dissemination:
    1. Data and sample quality:
      1. We should maintain the current threshold for acquisition, but give it greater prominence in our communications with potential collaborators, and provide more detail. The two most critical parts of the threshold for us are that the study provide a representative national sample in a post-election study, and that question wording and coding are uniform.
      2. There will be some deviations in most studies, but where they are serious (while still approximating what is necessary to meet the threshold) we will load the study as an auxiliary data file available for merging by investigators after considering how great a divergence from the standard is present.
      3. Also, if a sample is, for example, an urban sample then we should label that study properly, as for example "urban CountryX".
  1. Next meeting of the planning committee.
    1. Radoslaw Markowski will seek to organize a planning committee meeting for early- or mid-June of 2002. This will be a three-day meeting, with (barring unforeseen events) a fairly brief segment for p.c. business: primarily questions of implementation, and preparations for a plenary session to select a new planning committee for module 3.

      The bulk of the Poland meeting will be devoted to theoretic and methodological preparation for analysis of module 2 data, data confrontation with early module 2 data sets, identification of particular cases we will need for our theoretic purposes (which we should therefore make special efforts to recruit over the remaining few years of module 2), etc.
  1. The module 2 questionnaires are now completed, and the microquestionnaire is available for downloading on the CSES website. All the macroquestionnaire needs is fine-tuning on language. I have attached both here for your convenience. Significant changes made in the drafts with which we were working are:
    1. Microquestionnaire:
      1. The format of the participation questions was changed, and small changes were made in the wording (old Q2, new Q1)
      2. The mobilization question was reworded. (old Q3, new Q2)
      3. Regarding the "most important issue" question, we dropped the request that collaborators should recode their coding of responses into a standard code for us. (The major argument was the burden this would pose for collaborators, and the potential delay in acquiring data - plus the problem of comparability if many different studies applied a common abstract coding scheme.) Instead, collaborators will be asked to code the responses in whatever detailed issue coding (of at least 20 categories) best suits their country and their own needs, and to submit with the data an English translation of the coding scheme.
      4. The evaluations of performance (old Q6, Q10; new Q6, Q7) are now framed over the number of years between the preceding election and the present election.
      5. Evaluations of the opposition (old Q11, Q12) were dropped. Instead, after the report of the vote at the preceding election, respondents will be asked, "How well did the party you voted for at that election perform during the past [number of years between that election and the current election]?" (new Q14).
      6. Old Q8 (new Q21) was put in the past tense.
      7. Old Q16 was dropped. Even though old Q16 and old Q19 have very different histories, they are close enough that old Q19 should be able to do double duty.
      8. The two efficacy questions were relabeled to reflect their unipolar nature, rather than forcing them into false bipolarity. (Old Q18, Q19; new Q9, Q10)
      9. For the abstract evaluation of democracy (old Q20, new Q11), we dropped the Juan Linz formulation and instead adapted a portion of Richard Rose's battery.
      10. For both reported vote and retrospective vote, collaborators will be asked to include second vote for STV and AV systems.
    2. Microquestionnaire word order will be:
      • Participation questions
      • Current vote
      • Government accountability block
      • Satisfaction with democratic performance
      • Abstract evaluation of democracy
      • Vote in preceding election
      • Evaluation of party R voted for at that election
      • Perceived representation and accountability questions
      • Party closeness
      • Party like/dislike
      • Party L-R placements
      • Past participation
      • Respect for individual freedom and human rights
      • Corruption
      • L-R self-placement

      • Comment: Among important considerations here were:
        1. "Satisfaction with democratic performance" is not a soft lead-in where it is controversial. Asking participation questions as a lead-in should be better.
        2. To avoid contamination, we moved reported vote ahead of everything else.
        3. Left-right self-placement goes at the end because of the difficulty in administering it in some countries.
    3. Macroquestionnaire:
      1. Old Q1, Part I, the ID number of Respondents' primary election districts, was dropped. It's already given in the microquestionnaire codebook.
      2. "Portfolios in the cabinet" (old Q2, Part I; new Q1, Part I) was changed to a battery of four questions:
        • number of cabinet members before the election
        • number of cabinet members after the election
        • number of portfolios for each party before the election
        • number of portfolios for each party in the first cabinet formed after the election.
      3. "Active political parties" (Q3, Part I) was changed to: "Political parties represented in the parliament before or after the election", with a follow-up: "Are there any other parties judged by you to have been significant in the election?"
      4. Regarding the ideological party families, we dropped "independents" and added "single-issue parties".
      5. Overall, Gina Sapiro and Marta Lagos (through her assistant, Angelica Speich) will go over the macroquestionnaire to see whether it can be made easier to read and use, especially for non-native speakers of English.
  1. Announcements
    1. We expect to hear by the end of April on the proposal we have at NSF for four-year support of the project. If the proposal is successful, the secretariat should be in a much sounder staff and financial position than it has been over the past few years. If the proposal fails, the secretariat will have to leave Ann Arbor. Fortunately, Juan Diez-Nicolas stands ready to take on the function. Either way, the medium-term future of the project and its secretariat is secure and sound.
    2. The next data release (approximately the end of May) will add microdatasets from:
      • Canada
      • Korea
      • Peru
      • Chile
      • Switzerland
      • Slovenia
      • Denmark
      • Sweden