The authors wish to warmly thank Stijn Helsen for his invaluable help with calculating the L-kurtosis scores.
Friction and Party Manifesto Change in 25 Countries, 1945–98
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2008
©2009, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 53, Issue 1, pages 190–206, January 2009
How to Cite
Walgrave, S. and Nuytemans, M. (2009), Friction and Party Manifesto Change in 25 Countries, 1945–98. American Journal of Political Science, 53: 190–206. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00365.x
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2008
Political processes are affected by “friction.” Due to cognitive limitations and institutional delays, political agendas do not adapt smoothly to real-world impulses; political agendas either ignore them or overreact. The first question this article tackles is whether the same punctuated change process can be observed in party manifestos. Secondly, it examines whether there are differences across political systems and across party lines. Thirdly, the study tries to account for differences in the degree of “punctuatedness” of party manifestos. Drawing on the vast dataset of the Manifesto Research Group, the article shows that party manifestos are indeed characterized by friction and resistance to change; it also establishes that there are considerable differences in frictional patterns between parties and political systems; and it finds that electoral fragmentation, government participation, and electoral volatility are key to understanding these differences.