Pippa Norris Photo

Pippa Norris

Appointment
Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 110
617-495-1475
Norris, Pippa. "Cultural Explanations of Electoral Reform: A Policy Cycle Model." West European Politics 34.3 (May 2011): 531-550.

Abstract

Electoral reform is largely regarded as an elite-level issue, dominated by partisan interests, where citizens are usually marginalised and powerless. This perspective may help to explain what specific reforms are enacted, but it lacks the capacity to account for when and why successful reforms are raised on the policy agenda. The first section ofthis article presents a general policy cycle model identifying multiple actors in the process of electoral change. It tests the proposition that political culture - notably citizen dissatisfaction with regime legitimacy - heightens the salience of institutional reform. The following section summarises the research design testing this proposition. Results are then presented. The evidence demonstrates that democratic aspirations are a strong, significant and robust predictor of the occurrence of subsequent electoral reforms. The conclusion considers the implications of these findings, both for theories concerning regime legitimacy, as well as for revising standard accounts of processes of institutional change.