A Promise is a Promise! Unfolding the Electoral Ramifications of Political Compromises

In her VENI, Mariken van der Velden theorizes that political compromises force politicians to strategically communicate their decisions in order to mitigate electoral costs. Comparing the Dutch, German and Spanish case, she test her argument at three levels: the politicians level, employing advanced computational text approaches coupled with case-oriented approaches to identify how politicians make compromises and when they adapt their rhetoric to justify them; on the voter level, experimentally investigating the willingness to accept compromises using Virtual Reality techniques; and bridging the two by utilizing regression and experimental techniques to study the real-world effects of compromises. With the ever-growing number of communication platforms that politicians use to inform voters, the opportunities to analyse textual data – e.g. machine learning – also increases. This allows me to build and test an empirical model of the ramifications of political compromise. Mariken’s research breaks new ground by bridging insights from computatioonal methods, communication science, and political science. It thereby advances our understanding of voters’ critical attitudes towards democratic processes, such as coalition government formation – referred to as ‘cartel politics’ by populists. 

This project is funded by a NWO Veni grant awarded to Mariken van der Velden.