Netscher, Sebastian (2015). European Inclusion: Electoral Differences and Individual Participation in European Parliament Elections. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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This book investigates electoral procedures and their effects on individual participation in different elections within multi–level political systems. My basic research expectation is that electoral differences – i.e. differences in electoral procedures, for example between the 2009 European Parliament (EP) election and the previous national parliamentary elections in the member states of the European Union (EU) – reduce the individual understanding and thus participation in the EP election. As I show, the individual voter knows less about the EU than about her domestic politics, due to the EU’s lower political salience. Instead, the multi–level structure of the EU and its member states enables the individual to resort to political knowledge acquired on the domestic level, using it as a proxy for knowledge of the EU. That is, the individual employs a domestic perspective on the EU. But electoral differences cause this domestic perspective to fail, due to inappropriate reliance on other political knowledge. As a consequence, individual political knowledge about the EU is lower, reducing the individual understanding of the EU and the EP election. On the one hand, this lower understanding implies that political knowledge is more relevant in the context of electoral differences. It increases the individual’s awareness of electoral differences, enabling her to overcome the consequences of such differences for the EU and the EP election. On the other hand, electoral differences also mean that greater political knowledge has a demobilizing effect. If the consequences of the differences are not in line with the individual’s political preferences, they discourage her from casting a ballot for the EP. In short, electoral differences matter, diminishing the individual understanding of the EU and reducing individual participation in the EP election.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Netscher, Sebastiansebastian.netscher@gesis.orgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-59349
Date: 2015
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Management, Economy and Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Political Science > Department of Political Science
Subjects: Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
European Parliament elections, electoral differences, electoral participation, political knowledgeEnglish
Date of oral exam: 30 January 2015
NameAcademic Title
Kaiser, AndréProf. Dr.
Dülmer, HermannPD. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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