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This book investigates the ideological conditions inducing political actors to highlight corruption issues through valence campaigns. Using case studies and comparative analyses of party programmes, legislatives speeches and social media data, the author demonstrates that the more parties and/or candidates present a similar policy programme, the more they rely on valence campaigns. In other words, as the ideologies of parties have become increasingly similar over recent decades, the content of political competition has substantially shifted from policy to non-policy factors, such as corruption issues. These dynamics, and the ideological considerations underpinning them, also provide a novel perspective on recent phenomena in contemporary democracies, such as the growth of negative campaigning, as well as populist strategies based on anti-elite rhetoric. The book will appeal to students and scholars interested in political corruption, valence politics, populism and electoral campaigning.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Political Corruption and Valence Issues

Abstract
This chapter is devoted to linking the literature on political corruption with that on valence issues. It discusses how the former literature has generally focused on understanding the consequences of political corruption, as well as the reasons for its diffusion in different countries, while discarding (with few exceptions) the reasons that could explain why political actors may have an incentive to campaign (in a stronger or weaker way) on political corruption issues, thereby precluding the possibility of investigating the consequences of that choice. It is argued that looking at political corruption using the framework provided by the valence issues literature helps to fill this gap.
Luigi Curini

Chapter 2. The Ideological Incentive for Campaigning on Corruption Issues: The Two-Party Case

Abstract
In this chapter the theoretical model employed to identify the relationship between ideological positions and the incentives of a party to campaign on political corruption is introduced for a two-party system. The conclusion is that the more parties or candidates present a similar policy programme, the more such incentives grow. The empirical implications of the model are then controlled for by focusing on three countries: a ‘pure’ two-party system like the United States, and Italy and Japan during their respective long periods of no-cabinet alternation. Although these two latter democracies cannot be considered as two-party systems, they can be analysed using the theoretical framework proposed. Moreover, focusing on these two countries allows deeper investigation of the negative side of valence campaigning on corruption by a perennial opposition party.
Luigi Curini

Chapter 3. The Ideological Incentive to Campaign on Corruption Issues: The Multi-party Case

Abstract
This chapter extends the previous theoretical framework to consider explicitly also the multi-partisan case, while including in the analysis all the parties competing in a given election (both incumbent and opposition parties), as long as their incentive to highlight corruption issues is involved. The empirical part is focused on a large number of countries and elections in a comparative perspective (basically all Western democracies since post-WW2), while also investigating whether the impact of ideological considerations on campaigning on political corruption is mediated by some intervening variables (at the party level and/or electoral ones). The ‘valence outreach’ of the theory is then controlled for, by seeing whether it can be extended to cover non-policy valence issues other than corruption.
Luigi Curini

Chapter 4. The Direction of Valence Campaigning in Two Dimensions

Abstract
In this chapter the relationship between ideological proximity and the incentives of parties to highlight non-policy valence issues in their campaign is explored in a two-dimensional world. Also distinguished is the tone or direction (positive or negative) of such valence campaigning and the theoretical consequences thereof. The hypotheses are then tested by analysing the electoral strategies of parties during the 2014 European elections. To this end, all the messages published during the last week before the election day on the official Twitter account of all main parties from five European countries have been manually codified according to their policy and/or valence content.
Luigi Curini

Chapter 5. What Implications?

Abstract
In the final chapter, the main findings of the book are connected to three topics: first, it is shown how the results of the previous analyses can be related to the literature on political (and electoral) accountability. Second, the model based on ideological considerations and valence campaigning is extended to illustrate how it can help to explain the anti-elite rhetoric of parties generally connected to what can be identified as a ‘populist strategy’. Third, and finally, the discussed theoretical points are related to well-established theorizing on parties and party systems, in particular with the cartel party theory. The book concludes by discussing how the possible negative externalities of an extreme valence campaigning generated by a short ideological distance among parties remains an important issue for contemporary democracies.
Luigi Curini

Backmatter

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