Are Regional Elections Really ‘Second-Order’ Elections?

Arjan Schakel, Charlie Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically assesses the applicability of the second-order election model to regional elections. It offers first a critique of the second-order election model, arguing that the model has imported an inappropriate ‘nationalizing’ bias into the study of regional elections. Second, the article conducts an empirical analysis that shows that second-order election predictions do not appear to hold for regional elections which take place (1) in political settings where regional elections do not have the potential to signal a future alternation of government at the national level; (2) in authoritative, powerful regions; and (3) in regions where non-state-wide parties compete in regional elections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-341
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Regional elections
  • Second-order model
  • Methodological nationalism


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