Relative versus Absolute Party Positions: A Comparative Analysis
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Spatial analyses have provided one of the most important analytic frameworks for the study of party politics, legislative behaviour and electoral behaviour. Several methods and data have been used to estimate party positions. Estimates of party positions generated with one methodology have generally been validated by estimates generated with other methodologies. This paper argues that while this conclusion is correct when one looks at the way in which parties are ordered along the left-right continuum, that is to where parties are located relative to one another (hence the notion of relative position), it is not always correct when one looks at what is defined as parties' absolute positions, that is to where parties are located independently of other parties' locations. The paper investigates why estimates of party absolute positions are time-inconsistent.
Australian political science association Conference
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