The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

R. Michael Alvarez, Ines Levin, Alexander H. Trechsel, Kristjan Vassil: Voting Advice Applications: How Useful? For Whom?

R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
Ines Levin, University of Georgia
Alexander H. Trechsel, European University Institute
Kristjan Vassil, University of Tartu


The use of Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) has increased steadily in recent years. VAAs have been developed for elections taking place in individual countries as well as for region-wide European Union elections. In this paper, we study the determinants of the perceived usefulness of VAAs, using data from the EU Profiler—a voting advice application developed by the European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO), first applied to the 2009 European Parliamentary Elections. We do so using a multilevel latent variable approach that allows learning about underlying evaluations based on ratings of multiple components of the EU Profiler, and also allows taking into account country-level heterogeneity in evaluations of the system. The results of this study improve our understanding of the benefits of VAAs for different segments of the population, and should be of interest to scholars and policy-makers interested in improving the experience of individuals who use VAAs to inform their voting decisions.

R. Michael Alvarez, Ines Levin, Alexander H. Trechsel, Kristjan Vassil