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Going beyond ideology and tribalism: The cross-national determinants of affective polarization (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

  Add to Calendar 2019-11-19 17:15 2019-11-19 19:00 Europe/Paris Going beyond ideology and tribalism: The cross-national determinants of affective polarization (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

Although the intense loathing between Democrats and Republicans in the United States is already a widely known and studied phenomenon, we know very little about similar partisan affective polarization in the rest of the world. However, some recent research has revealed that in many countries affective polarization is actually even higher compared to the USA, and it varies significantly across countries. In this paper, I aim to explain the cross-national variation in affective polarization across 40 democratic countries around the world. I draw insights from the rational-ideological and partisan „tribalism theories that have emerged in the US context as the main explanations for the varying degree of affective polarization. My results indicate that although ideological polarization and partisan identity strength are correlated to affective polarization on party system level, they are not sufficient to unravel why different party systems exhibit differing levels of partisan animosity. I also demonstrate that in more corrupt and ethnically heterogenous countries, the level of affective polarization is systematically higher. These results suggest that even if affective polarization is not driven solely by ideological considerations, there can be logical structural reasons behind it, which should not be automatically dismissed as irrational tribalism. On the other hand, intended rational considerations can be distorted by in-group bias, as suggested by the finding that higher level of corruption has negative effect only on how people evaluate other parties, while in-party evaluations are immune to it.

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Although the intense loathing between Democrats and Republicans in the United States is already a widely known and studied phenomenon, we know very little about similar partisan affective polarization in the rest of the world. However, some recent research has revealed that in many countries affective polarization is actually even higher compared to the USA, and it varies significantly across countries. In this paper, I aim to explain the cross-national variation in affective polarization across 40 democratic countries around the world. I draw insights from the rational-ideological and partisan „tribalism theories that have emerged in the US context as the main explanations for the varying degree of affective polarization. My results indicate that although ideological polarization and partisan identity strength are correlated to affective polarization on party system level, they are not sufficient to unravel why different party systems exhibit differing levels of partisan animosity. I also demonstrate that in more corrupt and ethnically heterogenous countries, the level of affective polarization is systematically higher. These results suggest that even if affective polarization is not driven solely by ideological considerations, there can be logical structural reasons behind it, which should not be automatically dismissed as irrational tribalism. On the other hand, intended rational considerations can be distorted by in-group bias, as suggested by the finding that higher level of corruption has negative effect only on how people evaluate other parties, while in-party evaluations are immune to it.


Location:
-

Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Working group

Contact:
Political Behaviour Colloquium - Send a mail

Organiser:
SPS Researcher Emma Hoes (EUI)
Francesco Colombo

Speaker:
Andres Reiljan (EUI - Department of Political and Social Sciences)

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