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The European Common Space: Extending the Use of Anchoring Vignettes

Journal article
Authors R. Bakker
S. Jolly
Jonathan Polk
K. Poole
Published in Journal of Politics
Volume 76
Issue 4
Pages 1089-1101
ISSN 0022-3816
Publication year 2014
Published at Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Department of Political Science
Pages 1089-1101
Language en
Keywords policy shifts, party policy, electoral consequences, expert surveys, niche parties, basic space, integration, elections, positions, ideology, political science
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


In this article, we combine advances in both survey research and scaling techniques to estimate a common dimension for political parties across the member states of the European Union. Most previous scholarship has either ignored or assumed cross-national comparability of party placements across a variety of dimensions. The 2010 wave of the Chapel Hill Expert Survey includes anchoring vignettes which we use as "bridge votes'' to place parties from different countries on a common space. We estimate our dimensions using the "blackbox'' technique. Our results demonstrate both the usefulness of anchoring vignettes and the broad applicability of the blackbox scaling routine. Further, the resulting scale offers a cross-nationally comparable interval-level measure of a party's left/right ideological position with a high degree of face validity. In short, we argue that the left/right economic dimension travels well across European countries.

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