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Research Notes

Paid Digital Campaigning During the 2018 Local Elections in Flanders

Which Candidates Jumped on the Bandwagon?

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords local elections, candidates, campaign spending, digital campaigning
Authors Gunther Vanden Eynde, Gert-Jan Put, Bart Maddens e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research note investigates the role of paid digital campaigning in the 2018 local elections in Flanders. We make use of the official declarations which candidates are legally required to submit. In these declarations, candidates indicate whether and how much they invested in online campaigning tools during the four months preceding the elections. We collected data on a sample of 3,588 individual candidates running in the 30 municipalities of the Leuven Arrondissement. A multilevel logistic regression model shows that the odds of spending on digital campaigning increases among incumbent aldermen and local councillors. The latter finding supports the normalization thesis of digital campaigning. The results also show that scale is important – the more potential voters a candidate has, the higher the odds that the candidate invests in digital tools.


Gunther Vanden Eynde
Gunther Vanden Eynde is a doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research interests include political finance, campaign spending and the social media campaigns of Belgian political parties and their candidates.

Gert-Jan Put
Gert-Jan Put is a Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Regional Economics, KU Leuven. His research focuses on candidate selection and intra-party competition, and has been published in Political Behavior, Party Politics and Electoral Studies.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is a professor of political science at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute His research interests include political finance, elections and multi-level systems. His work has been published in West European Politics, Party Politics and Electoral Studies.

Gertjan Muyters
Gertjan Muyters is a doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research focuses on candidate turnover and political careers.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is gewoon hoogleraar aan het Instituut voor de Overheid van de KU Leuven en was van 2001 tot en met 2007 lid van de redactie van Res Publica, van 2005 tot en met 2007 als hoofdredacteur.
Article

Het financiële gedrag van politieke partijen

Een verkennend onderzoek op basis van de Belgische case

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2018
Keywords party spending, financial behaviour, spending behaviour, dealignment, professionalisation, Belgium
Authors Jef Smulders and Bart Maddens
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent decades processes of partisan dealignment and professionalisation have taken place. But how do political parties adapt their financial behaviour to these changes in the political-electoral system? We answer this question by analysing two indicators. First, we examine to what extent parties spend their available financial means (saving versus spending strategy). Secondly, we study how parties spend their available financial means (bureaucratic versus electoral strategy). Based on these two indicators we set up a two-dimensional model describing the financial behaviour of political parties, which we apply to data of Belgian parties in the period 1999-2015. The results illustrate that most parties generally adopt a bureaucratic saving strategy, but that there has not been a linear evolution between 1999 and 2015 towards a specific financial behaviour as a reaction to dealignment and professionalisation.


Jef Smulders
Jef Smulders is aspirant van het Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO), verbonden aan de KU Leuven, Instituut voor de Overheid. Hij verricht voornamelijk onderzoek naar partij- en campagenfinanciering en naar de profielen van verkiezingskandidaten. Zijn doctoraatsproefschrift handelde over de uitgaven van politieke partijen in Europa.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is gewoon hoogleraar in de politieke wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven, Instituut voor de Overheid. Zijn onderzoeksagenda richt zich hoofdzakelijk op partijen campagnefinanciering, politieke carrièrepatronen, de profielen van verkiezingskandidaten en multilevelsystemen.

Gert-Jan Put
Gert-Jan Put is onderzoeker van het FWO-Vlaanderen en verbonden aan het KU Leuven Instituut voor de Overheid. Zijn onderzoek handelt over kandidatenselectie, parlementaire turnover en campagne-effecten.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is germanist en politicoloog. Hij is als gewoon hoogleraar verbonden aan het KU Leuven Instituut voor de Overheid. Hij publiceerde over partij- en campagnefinanciering, verkiezingen, de staatshervorming, politieke partijen in multilevelsystemen en de monarchie.
Article

De selectie van verkiesbare kandidaten

Een analyse van de Belgische Kamerverkiezingen 1999-2010

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2012
Keywords candidate selection, representation, Belgium
Authors Gert-Jan Put and Bart Maddens
AbstractAuthor's information

    In a closed or semi-open PR-system, the designation of the MPs is primarily determined by their position on the list. In this paper, we attempt to find out on the basis of which criteria a party selects the candidates who are most likely to be elected, due to their high and/or visible position on the list. We do so by comparing these realistic candidates with the candidates on unrealistic positions on the list. A multi-level logistic regression analysis of the Flemish candidates in four subsequent federal elections in Belgium shows that the selectorates have a marked preference for incumbents and for mayors. Aldermen also stand a better chance of being elected, but only if they are from a larger communality. Women are strongly underrepresented amongst the realistic candidates, but this is only due to the fact that there are relatively few women mayors and incumbents.


Gert-Jan Put
Gert-Jan Put is als aspirant van het FWO verbonden aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de KULeuven. Hij bereidt een proefschrift voor over de geografische strategie van partijen bij verkiezingen.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is hoogleraar aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de KULeuven. Hij doet onderzoek over partij- en campagnefinanciering en politieke partijen in multilevelsystemen.
Article

Maken sterke lijsten een verschil?

Een analyse van de lijsten bij de federale en regionale verkiezingen in het Vlaams Gewest (2003-2010)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2011
Authors Bart Maddens and Gert-Jan Put
AbstractAuthor's information

    Theories on ticket balancing assume that the success of a list in an open list PR system is related to the distribution of the candidates on the list according to variables such as age, gender, professional background and residence. To test these assumptions data were collected about 179 lists for the 2003, 2007 and 2010 federal and 2004 and 2009 regional elections, in the Flemish region of Belgium. A multivariate analysis shows that a list is more successful compared to the other lists of the party in the election if there are more incumbents and aldermen or majors on the list, and less young candidates. A similar analysis with the relative swing as dependent variable suggests that only the age and the number of aldermen or majors have a causal effect on the success. The success of a list does not seem to depend on the visibility of woman candidates, the professional profi les of the candidates, their geographical dispersion or the total campaign expenditures.


Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is hoogleraar aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Hij doet onderzoek over onder andere partij- en campagnefinanciering en politieke partijen in multi-level systemen.

Gert-Jan Put
Gert-Jan Put is assistent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Hij doet onderzoek over de geografische spreiding van kandidaten en de geopolitieke strategie van partijen.

    The number of preference votes for the candidates running in the October 2006 local elections in the thirteen main cities of Flanders is largely determined by the position on the list and the previous political mandate. A multivariate analysis shows that an executive function on the local level yields a comparable electoral bonus as a national mandate. The campaign expenditures also have a significant effect. There is a spending limit, but the candidates on average spend only 22% of what they are allowed to. Christian-democratic candidates generally spend the most, with the liberals ranked second. The gender, age and professional status of the candidates have at most a very marginal effect on their electoral score, controlling for the other relevant variables. Candidates with a foreign name obtain a somewhat better result on average, but this is particularly the case with candidates running for the socialist party.


Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is hoofddocent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven. Hij doceert onder meer vergelijkende politiek en kiesstelsels. Zijn onderzoek betreft hoofdzakelijk verkiezingen en partijfinanciering.

Karolien Weekers
Karolien Weekers is wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven. Ze werkt aan een doctoraatsonderzoek over partij- en campagnefinanciering en maakt sinds 2006 deel uit van het team dat de KANDI-gegevens inzamelt en analyseert.

Stefaan Fiers
Stefaan Fiers is docent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven en doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Campus Kortrijk van de K.U.Leuven. Hij nam mee het initiatief tot de zogenaamde KANDI-onderzoeken, die voor elke verkiezing sinds 2003 de belangrijkste sociografische en electorale kenmerken van alle verkiezingskandidaten op Vlaamse lijsten verzamelt.

Ine Vanlangenakker
Ine Vanlangenakker is assistente aan de Faculteit Sociale wetenschappen van de K.U.Leuven en bereidt een doctoraat voor over het carrièreverloop van leden van regionale parlementen in comparatief perspectief. In 2006 maakte ze deel uit van het team dat de KANDI2006-gegevens inzamelde en analyseerde.

    According to our analysis of the campaign expenses declared by the Flemish candidates for the 2003 federal and the 2004 regional elections candidates of the three traditional parties spend, on average, about 70 à 80% of what they are allowed to. The impact of the spending limit is much smaller for the other parties, the candidates of which spend only about 50% of what they are allowed to. Incumbents and candidates who are also mayor in a municipality tend to spend more. The background characteristics of the candidates have almost no effect on the expenditures. There is only a small effect of gender, in the sense that women candidates spend less. On average, one third of the individual campaign expenditures is financed by the individual candidates, and two thirds by the party. However, in the liberal party the contribution of the party is substantially lower (35 à 40% on average), while it is higher (80% on average) in the socialist party as well as for female candidates


Bart Maddens
Hoofddocent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie, K.U.Leuven.

Karolien Weekers
Wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het Centrum voor Politicologie, K.U.Leuven.

Jo Noppe
Doctor in de sociale wetenschappen, K.U.Leuven.
Article

Partis politiques nationaux en crise?

Organisation des partis et décentralisation. Une comparaison de l’Espagne et du Royaume Uni

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2005
Authors Elodie Fabre, Bart Maddens, Wilfried Swenden e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates the link between state decentralization and party decentralization. We study the impact of the type (dual, integrative, asymmetrical) and degree of decentralization on two dimensions of the relationship between a party’s central party organs and its regional branches: the autonomy of the regional branches to manage their regional affairs and the degree of participation of the regional branches in the central party. We compare the organization of five state-wide parties in two decentralized multi-national polities, Spain and the UK. Our analysis of their party statutes partly confirms the link between degree and asymmetry of decentralization and party organization. However, the impact of the type of distribution of powers between the state and its regions is much less clear. This article shows the need to investigate the influence of other factors such as regional party competition and electoral rules on the type of central-regional relationships within state-wide parties.


Elodie Fabre
Doctorante au Département de science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.

Bart Maddens
Professeur en science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.

Wilfried Swenden
Professeur en science politique à l’Université de Edimbourg, Ecosse.

Robertas Pogorelis
Collaborateur scientifique au Département de science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.
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