Welcome! My name is Jelle Koedam and I am a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My research focuses broadly on democratic representation and the relationship between citizens and elites in advanced industrial democracies. In particular, my interests encompass political parties and party systems, public opinion, regional politics, and the European Union.
My dissertation contests a notion widely held in the party competition literature that political parties continuously change their policy positions, arguing instead that parties are ideologically quite constrained. Building on insights from a variety of literatures, including spatial modeling and sociology, I develop a unified framework for studying multidimensional party competition. I argue that we need to account for the role of salience for party change by distinguishing between a party’s primary and secondary dimension. I show that a party’s reputation and long-term ideological commitments limit positional flexibility on its more salient dimension, while short-term strategic policy shifts are possible on issues outside of its core agenda.