German Citizenship Law Revisited: Howard’s "Causes and Consequences of Germany’s New Citizenship Law"

In a recent post, I have commented on a (now scrapped) law from the 1930s that made it technically illegal for “foreign” PhDs to use their titles in Germany. A superficially similar case concerns the German citizenship law that was first enacted in 1913 (the Empire happily existed without a concept of federal citizenship for more than four decades) and remained in force with minor amendments until 2000. At the core of this law was the idea that one cannot become German. Rather, one is German by virtue of the bloodline, i.e. by having German forefathers (the original sexist bias of the law was ameliorated in the 1970s). This is the infamous ius sanguinis. However, while the PhD regulations were half-forgotten and rarely enforced (though they provided an income for dubious lawyers), the continuity of the citizenship law after the war was clearly the result of political intent and was even enshrined in article 116 of the constitution.

While the ius sanguinis is archaic, the West German elites had two good reasons for not modernising the law. First, given that Bonn did not accept East Germany’s claim to sovereignty, meddling with the concept of citizenship was obviously dodgy. Second, West Germany considered itself a safe haven for millions of ethnic Germans who were still living in Central and Eastern Europe. Sticking with the traditional concept of citizenship kept the door wide open for these people: like in the case of refugees from East Germany, there was no need to apply for citizenship, because they were already German. Moreover, German citizenship was not exactly in high demand after the war.

One unforeseen consequence of the citizenship law was, however, that children born in Germany by foreigners remained themselves foreigners. By the 1990s, Germany had a sizeable and growing population of several million second (and third) generation foreigners, but thanks to the phenomenal inertia of Germany’s political system and their political persuasions, the Kohl-led governments of the 1980s and 1990s made only token attempts to remedy this situation. The (then new) SPD/Green government, however, came up with some rather radical reform ideas soon after it was elected in 1998. Howard’s article tells the complex and heroic tale of these reforms and the immense political backlash they created. It’s highly recommend for anyone who wants to understand the intricacies of the political battle of citizenship and immigration.

Technorati Tags: change, citizenship, germany, immigration, law, political, social, immigration

New Extreme Right Book out – soon?

Over the last seven years our so, much of my research has focused on the voters of the Extreme Right in Western Europe. Last November, I submitted the final draft of a monograph on that topic to a well-established German publishing company, with view of getting the book out in late January. Then, a lot of things happened (or rather failed to happen). But, believe it or not, yesterday they sent me the contract, and now “Die Wähler der extremen Rechten 1980-2002” is officially in print. I’ll keep you posted.

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Technorati Tags: extreme right, western europe, voting, right, radical right

Makefile helps with latex, too

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article on how make and Makefiles can help you to organise your Stata projects. If you are working in a unix environnment, you’ll already have make installed. If you work under Windows, install GNU make – it’s free, and it can make your Stata day. Rather unsurprisingly, make is also extremely useful if you have large or medium-sized latex project (or if you want to include tables and/or graphs produced by Stata) in a latex document. For instance, this comes handy if you have eps-Figures and use pdflatex. pdflatex produces pdf files instead of dvi files. If you produces slides with, this can save you a lot of time because you don’t have to go through the latex – dvips – ps2pdf cycle. However, pdflatex cannot read eps files: you have to convert your eps files with pstoedit to the meta post format, then use meta post to convert them to mps (which can be read by pdflatex). With this Makefile snippet, everything happens automagically:

#New implicit rules for conversion of eps->mp->mps
#Change path if you have installed pstoedit in some other place : %.eps
c:pstoedit/pstoedit.exe -f mpost $*.eps $*.mp

mpost $*.mp
mv $*.1 $*.mps
rm $*.mp

#Now specify a target

presentation.pdf: presentation.tex mytab1.tex myfig.mps

#Optional: if you want to create dataset x.eps, run
#Stata must be in your path
%.eps :
tab wstata -e do $<

Now type make presentation.pdf, and make will call Stata, pstoedit, metapost and pdflatex as required. If you need more figures, just write the do-file and add a dependency.

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Technorati Tags: make, latex, Makefile, Stata, political science, political, science, meta post, pstoedit, postscript, eps, pdf, pdflatex, beamer

Germany: Extreme right party leader charged with inciting racial hatred

Udo Voigt, the leader of the NPD, has been charged with inciting racial hatred. During the 2006 World Cup, the party published a pamphlet that questioned the right of non-white players in the squad to represent Germany in the tournament. The NPD is the oldest amongst the three relevant extreme right parties in Germany. Founded in the early 1960s, the party was successful in a number of Land elections but could not overcome the 5 per cent threshold in the General election of 1969. For more than three decades, the party that once had tens of thousands of members and even set up its own student organisation barely survived as a political sect but played no role in electoral politics. If you can read German, here is a chapter on extremist parties and their voters with lots of fascinating details on Germany I wrote for a handbook on electoral behaviour.

Voigt was elected as party leader in 1996 and quickly modernised the party. His aggressive and dynamic stance persuaded the Federal government to apply for a ban of the party in the Federal Constitutional Court in 2003. The case was thrown out on procedural grounds, and for the first time in 40 years, the party managed to win seats in two state elections in 2004 and 2006.

However, the charges against Voigt are just the latest political blow for the party and its current leadership. After 2006, there have been no more electoral successes. Moreover, the party is involved in dubious financial transactions. The party treasurer was taken into custody in February, and the party must repay huge amounts of money it had claimed under Germany’s state-sponsored party-funding scheme. Voigt stands for re-election as party leader in May, and there might well be a leadership contest.

Technorati Tags: NPD, extreme right, germany, npd, racial hatred, right wing extremism

Democratic values and attitudes in Turkey

Last year, the “Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie and Sozialpsychologie” published an article on the level of support for the European Union’s core principles (democracy, gender equality, religious freedom, rule of law) in Turkey. In essence, the author claimed that the level of support for these principles in Turkey is low because a) the level of economic development is low while b) the number of Muslims is very high. Thanks to the very efficient PR office at the university of Cologne, these findings made their way into the mainstream media in Germany (including the English service of the Deutsche Welle) and Turkey and eventually even into the more shady parts of the blogosphere (that are normally the object rather than the consumer of sociological studies).

I felt, however, that the analysis suffered from a whole host of serious methodological and theoretical shortcomings, and that the claims of the original paper are untenable. Therefore, I wrote a comment on “Paßt die Türkei zur EU und die EU zu Europa” (in German, also as PDF). The Kölner Zeitschrift has recently accepted my article, and it will appear in the next issue. Replication data and stata scripts for my paper are available, too.

Technorati Tags: turkey, democracy, Islam, Muslims, multi-level analysis, european, union, values, survey, sociology, stata

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A fresh look at economic voting

The basic assumptions of the theory of economic voting are very simple:

  • voters care about unemployment, inflation, and growth
  • voters blame the government for adverse economic conditions
  • voters use the ballot to punish the government.

Unfortunately, the impact of this effect is not constant over time and across countries, which is slightly embarrassing. In their recent book, van der Brug et al. do not claim that they have solved this puzzle, but they maintain that they have taken the discussion one step further. According to them, previous research has looked at the wrong variable, i.e. (dichotomous or multinomial) vote intentions. This is hardly surprising. For the last decade or so, these authors and their associates have campaigned for an alternative measure, namely the subjective probability to vote for each single party. However, their measure (which has been implemented in the European Election Studies) is not uncontroversial. First, analysts must account for the clustering of these ratings (while we might look at 4,000 or 6,000 ratings, we still have only 1,000 truly independent cases, i.e. persons). Second, if a respondent does not rate a party, is that a missing value or a zero probability? Third, comparisons across political systems (especially comparisons of two-/multiparty systems) are at least as dodgy as comparisons of the traditional variable. And finally, while counting votes/vote intentions obviously discards valuable information about the individual calculus that leads to this decision, subjective probabilities are closer to party sympathies than to real thing. Nonetheless, an interesting read.

Technorati Tags: economic voting political science

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How Stata and a Makefile can make your day

By relying on scripts (do-files), Stata encourages you to work in a structured, efficient and reproducible way. This text-based approach is familiar and attractive to anyone who has ever used a unix shell and the standard utilities. Actually, unix-flavoured utilities can make your stata experience even better. One non-obvious candidate is make, which is usually used for programming projects that require some sort of compilation.

Consider the following scenario. You have two ascii files of raw data, micro.raw and macro.raw. You want to read in both files, correct some errors, convert them to stata’s .dta format, merge them, apply some recodes, do a lot of preliminary analyses, and finally produce a postscript file and a table for inclusion in LaTeX. Of course, you could write one large do-File that does the job. But then, changing a tiny detail of the final graph would require you to repeat the whole procedure, which is time-consuming (especially when you work with very large datasets). Moreover, you often want to perform some interactive checks at an intermediate stage. So breaking down the large job in a number of smaller jobs that are much easier to maintain and produce a set of intermediate files seems like a good idea.

However, now running these jobs in the correct order (and determining whether a job needs to be re-run at all) becomes crucial. And this is where make can help you. A Makefile simply contains information on dependencies amongst your files as well as instructions for getting from A to B. Here is an example for the above scenario

#your comments here

#Define new implicit rule: if you want to create dataset x.dta, run
%.dta :
tab wstata -e do $<

micro.dta : micro.raw

macro.dta: macro.raw

combined.dta: micro.dta macro.dta

final.dta: combined.dta

finalmodel.ster: final.dta
tab wstata -e do

tabandgraph: finalmodel.ster
tab wstata -e do

The first two lines after the comment define a new rule: Whenever you ask make to make a datset, it will run Stata in batch-mode with a do-file of the same name as input. The next line specifies that micro.dta depends on the raw data (micro.raw) as well as on the code that transforms micro.raw into micro.dta. If either file changes, make knows that micro.dta has to be recreated, otherwise, it can be left alone. The same applies to macro.dta, combined.dta and final.dta. So if you type (at the command prompt) “make final.dta” will (re-create) combined.dta, micro.dta, and macro.dta if and only if this is necessary (i.e. if either the scripts or the raw data have changed. The same goes for your tables and graphs. If you change but none of the other files, only will be re-executed. If, on the other hand, you correct an error in or get a new release of micro.raw, all the intermediate datasets and the saved estimates will be re-created in the correct order before is re-executed.

Two fine points: a) instructions for making something start with a tabstop and b) -e (instead of /E) is required because MSDOS-like options confuse make. If your project is complex, makefiles can save your day. If you work in a *nix environment, make and its documentation is most probably installed on your system. In a Windows environment, you will have to install either Cygwin or MinGW to get make. The Wikipedia article is an excellent starting point for learning the syntax of makefiles.

Technorati Tags: stata, data, make political science

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Resolved: French Departements, INSEE, ISO and NUTS-3 codes

If you are interested in subnational politics, France is an interesting case for many reasons. On the one hand, the country is highly centralised and divided into 96 (European) Departements (administrative units) with equal legal rights (though Corsica is a bit of an exception to this). In fact, Departements were created after the revolution in an attempt to replace the provinces of the Ancien Regime with something rational and neat. On the other hand, the Departements are vastly different in terms of their size, population, economic, political and social structure, which gives you a lot of variance that can be modelled. Electoral data is often made available at the level of the Departement (see e.g. the useful book by Caramani for historical results and the CDSP and government websites for recent elections) or can be aggregated to that level since electoral districts are nested in Departements. The French National Insitute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has a wealth of data from the 1999 census and other sources, and even more is available from Eurostat. One thing that is incredibly annoying, however, is that many sources like Caramani, INSEE and the Wikipedia use the traditional French system. This system (which is part of the ISO standard ISO 3166-1) assigns numbers from 1 to 95 that once reflected the alphabetical order of the Departments’ names, though this initial order was a bit scrambled by territorial changes. The most obvious result of these are the odd 2A/2B codes for Corsica (after 1975, see this article on the French Official Geographic Code for the details). Rather unsurprisingly, Eurostat (and a few others) prefer the European NUTS-3 codes, which have a hierarchical structure that consists of a country (FR), region, and subregion (=Departement) code. If you want to merge Departmental data from various sources you obviously have to map one system to the other, which is cumbersome and prone to error. That’s why I wrote a little script in Perl that reads a table of Departmental Codes and creates a do-File for Stata, which does the actual mapping. From within Stata, you can simply type net from to get the whole package. It should be fairly easy to adopt this to your own needs – enjoy!

Technorati Tags: france, subnational, departements, stata, perl, geocodes

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