The electoral consequences of the financial and economic crisis in Europe
Title: The electoral consequences of the financial and economic crisis in Europe
Citation: European journal of political research, 2016, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp. 203-224
ISSN: 1475-6765; 0304-4130
We analyse the electoral consequences of the Great Recession by combining insights from economic voting theories, and the literature on party system change. Taking our cues from these two theoretical perspectives, we assess the impact of the Great Recession on the stability and change of Western, Central and Eastern European party systems. We start from the premise that, to fully assess the impact of the contemporary crisis, classic economic voting hypotheses focused on incumbent parties need to be combined with accounts of long-term party system change provided by realignment and dealignment theories. The empirical analysis draws on an original dataset of election results and economic and political indicators in 30 European democracies. The results indicate that during the Great Recession economic strain was associated with sizable losses for incumbent parties and an increasing destabilization of Western European party systems, while its impact was significantly weaker in Central and Eastern European countries, where political rather than economic failure appeared to be more relevant. In line with the realignment perspective, the results also reveal that in Western Europe radical populist right, radical left, and non-mainstream parties benefited the most form the economic hardship, while the support for mainstream parties decreased further.
First published: 27 October 2015
Grant number: FP7/338875/EU
Type of Access: openAccess
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