Shikano, Susumu

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Judges' behaviour and relationship with political parties in a non-common-law country : the case of the German Federal Constitutional Court

2014, Shikano, Susumu, Mack, Verena

In contrast to common-law countries, in civil-law countries it is difficult to investigate individual judges as political actors. It is mainly due to the legal norm under the civil-law tradition which is averse to disclosing individual judges' behavior. An exception is the German Federal Constitutional Court, permitting their judges to publish dissenting opinions. This paper identifies individual judges' political orientation on an underlying dimension by applying an unfolding-type of item-response model to those dissenting opinions. We find different degrees of congruence between political parties' and judges' political orientation, which we explain by the principal-agent theory. More specifically, we argue that some characteristics of potential judges are crucial for the screening by political parties in the selection process of the judges. Our empirical analysis shows that judges' party membership and former political career promise more screening success by parties, while lifetime appointment decreases congruence of nominating parties and judges.


Dynamics of Voting Propensity : Experimental Tests of Adaptive Learning Models

2014, Shikano, Susumu, Kittel, Bernhard

This paper aims to deliver experimental evidence on the dispute between two behavioral models of electoral turnout (Bendor, Diermeier & Ting, APSR 2003; Fowler, JoP 2006). Both models share the idea that the subjects' voting propensities are updated from their past propensities, aspirations and realized payoffs. However, they differ in the exact specification of the feedback mechanism. The first model has a strong feedback mechanism toward 50%, while the other has only moderate feedback. This difference leads to two distinct distributions of voter types: the first model generates more casual voters who vote and abstain from time to time. The latter generates more habitual voting behavior. Thus far, the latter model seemed to be better supported empirically since survey data reveal more habitual voters and abstainers than casual voters. Given that the two models differ in their propensity updating mechanism in dynamic processes, a more direct test of their assumptions as well as implications with survey data is still pending. We designed a laboratory experiment in which subjects repeatedly make turnout and voting decisions. The results from experimental data is mixed, but more supportive of the second model with habitual voters and abstainers.