Title: Design challenges in cross-national VAAs: the case of the EU Profiler

Authors: Tom Louwerse; Simon Otjes

Addresses: Institute of Political Science, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands ' Centre for Documentation on Dutch Political Parties, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 559, 9700 AN Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: This paper analyses the design of the EU Profiler, the first truly cross-national VAA. We assess the convergent validity and scaling reliability of the low-dimensional models that are used to represent differences between parties and users. Convergent validity of the party positions in the EU Profiler is moderate to high, but scaling reliability is low for most of the issue dimensions included. We examine whether these problems are related to the EU Profiler's cross-national nature. The EU Profiler integrates the positions of parties from all over Europe into one pan-European model, even though students of European politics emphasise that there are structural differences between party competition in Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe. We find that the EU Profiler performs better in terms of scaling reliability in Western European party systems than in Central and Eastern European party systems. In addition, there are substantive differences between individual countries.

Keywords: voting advice applications; VAAs; EU Profiler; VAA design; cross-national VAA; European Union; party positions; spatial models; Central and Eastern Europe; CEE; Western Europe; voting advice applications; e-democracy; elections; electoral behaviour; electoral impact; election campaigning; internet; voting aid applications; electronic democracy; electoral campaigns; pan-European model.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.051305

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.279 - 297

Available online: 30 Dec 2012

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