During my term as a Visiting Fellow, I will be working on my current research project, “Party Switching in Parliamentary Democracies”, which has an explicit Australian component. In this project I am comparing the political motivations for party switching in parliamentary democracies and the consequences of this phenomenon for the quality of representative democracy, the party system and electoral integrity. The central hypothesis of the project is that the nature of the electoral system systematically impacts on the frequency, the reasons for, and the consequences of party switching. I expect that electoral systems that allow voters to vote for a party will have fewer but more ideologically oriented switches, while electoral systems that allow voters to vote for a candidate will have more frequent and more instrumentally motivated switches. I expect that switches will have a more harmful effect on electoral integrity in the former than in the latter cases. The project compares four contemporary democracies (Australia, India, Israel, and Hungary) each of which represents one of the main electoral system families that are currently used in the world today. During my term as a Visiting Fellow I would be able to advance the collection and analysis of the Australian data.
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