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Interdisciplinary Workshop in Comparative Politics (IWCP) pres.

Interdisciplinary Workshop in Comparative Politics (IWCP)

Julia Maynard (U-M Political Science); Usurping the Leader: A Comparative Analysis of Party Leadership Changes

Julia Maynard Julia Maynard
Julia Maynard
Party leaders are seen as the face and central control of a political party’s agenda (also possibly the legislature). This asks the question, with all this power why would a leader ever relinquish their position? Little work has looked comparatively at why leaders step down from office due to data limitations. We contribute to the literature on party politics and leader tenure by providing a new dataset of leadership changes in advanced industrial democracies from 1960-2017. This dataset includes approximately 1,400 party leaders, and it codes why leaders step down using primary and secondary sources. With these original data, we investigate the drivers of leadership change across time and space. We find that electoral loss and intra-party ousting are the most common forms of leadership change, suggesting that voters and party members have effective power to check leaders. Even though we analyze cases with different party systems and institutions our findings suggest similar outcomes. A leader’s survival is contingent on party member and voter support. We test the relationship between vote loss, incumbency status, and leadership change to understand the role of external drivers on party organization. This new data provides a unique tool for understanding party organization more broadly.

Julia Maynard is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. She studies party politics and voting behavior mostly within the context of European Politics. Her interests are within the dynamics of mainstream parties and niche parties- how these parties react to each other as well as reasons why voters would choose one over the other.

The Interdisciplinary Workshop in Comparative Politics (IWCP) provides a platform for sharing and improving research that provides comparative perspectives on the causes and effects of political and economic processes. We have participants from Economics, the Ford School of Public Policy, the Law School, the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, Mathematics, Political Science, the Ross School of Business, Sociology, Statistics, and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.
Julia Maynard Julia Maynard
Julia Maynard

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