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Research Colloquium on Comparative Politics and Public Policy

  Add to Calendar 2019-12-04 16:00 2019-12-04 18:30 Europe/Paris Research Colloquium on Comparative Politics and Public Policy

Public Lecture

17:00-18:30

Markus Wagner (University of Vienna)

Does Austerity Cause Political Fragmentation and Polarization?

Authors: Evelyne Hübscher (CEU), Thomas Sattler (University of Geneva), Markus Wagner (University of Vienna) 

Abstract: Most party systems have seen a significant change during the past decades, both in terms of fragmentation and polarization. We show that fiscal policies significantly contributed to this development. Our macro analysis of 164 elections since 1980 finds that austerity increases votes for non-mainstream parties and the effective number of parties and reduces turnout. In addition, a detailed analysis of large fiscal adjustments traces how previously small or even non-existent parties, often those at the edges of the political spectrum, are the primary beneficiaries of austerity policies. Survey experiments with a total of 8’800 respondents in Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom show why this is the case. If a right-wing government implements austerity, many dissatisfied voters turn to the main left opposition party. If, however, the mainstream left party converges on a pro-austerity position, dissatisfied voters turn towards non-mainstream parties because mainstream right parties do not provide a credible anti-austerity alternative. Economic convergence of mainstream parties, therefore, is a major determinant of political destablization in industrialized democracies.

Biography: Markus Wagner is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Vienna, Austria. His research focuses on the role of issues and ideology in party competition and vote choice. He has published in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a member of the teams coordinating the Austrian National Election Study and the current module of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. 

Internal Colloquium

16:00-16:45

Maximilian Mansbart (EUI)

What drives ideological division in the EU 

Abstract: This paper studies policy preference divisions across and within regions in the European Union. Public opinion scholars have so far either applied proxies to measure variation of policy preferences or have tended to neglect the meaning of rising economic inequality for policy preference formation in Europe. This study is the first that demonstrates how financial status affects policy preferences across dimensions over time and space in the European Union. Using multilevel regressions, I compare the effect size of nationality and financial status on fundamental preference differences. I analyse a selection of ideologically salient issues representing three core policy conflict dimensions (socio-economic, socio-cultural, European integration) in a novel dataset based on Eurobarometer surveys over eleven years (2008-2018) containing more than 800.000 respondents. I find that even if polarization between financial status groups within all three dimensions has increased over time, country differences continue to be the major predictor for ideological divisions in Europe. The findings of this study have mixed implications for the future of European integration. While there is increased common agreement among the European population on some issues (e.g. the importance of environmental protection), there is a rising dissent in terms of financial status and nationalities on other issues (e.g. how to finance social welfare). The European vision of more cohesiveness with shared goals and common values seems to be very far off still.

DD/MM/YYYY

Public Lecture

17:00-18:30

Markus Wagner (University of Vienna)

Does Austerity Cause Political Fragmentation and Polarization?

Authors: Evelyne Hübscher (CEU), Thomas Sattler (University of Geneva), Markus Wagner (University of Vienna) 

Abstract: Most party systems have seen a significant change during the past decades, both in terms of fragmentation and polarization. We show that fiscal policies significantly contributed to this development. Our macro analysis of 164 elections since 1980 finds that austerity increases votes for non-mainstream parties and the effective number of parties and reduces turnout. In addition, a detailed analysis of large fiscal adjustments traces how previously small or even non-existent parties, often those at the edges of the political spectrum, are the primary beneficiaries of austerity policies. Survey experiments with a total of 8’800 respondents in Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom show why this is the case. If a right-wing government implements austerity, many dissatisfied voters turn to the main left opposition party. If, however, the mainstream left party converges on a pro-austerity position, dissatisfied voters turn towards non-mainstream parties because mainstream right parties do not provide a credible anti-austerity alternative. Economic convergence of mainstream parties, therefore, is a major determinant of political destablization in industrialized democracies.

Biography: Markus Wagner is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Vienna, Austria. His research focuses on the role of issues and ideology in party competition and vote choice. He has published in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a member of the teams coordinating the Austrian National Election Study and the current module of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. 

Internal Colloquium

16:00-16:45

Maximilian Mansbart (EUI)

What drives ideological division in the EU 

Abstract: This paper studies policy preference divisions across and within regions in the European Union. Public opinion scholars have so far either applied proxies to measure variation of policy preferences or have tended to neglect the meaning of rising economic inequality for policy preference formation in Europe. This study is the first that demonstrates how financial status affects policy preferences across dimensions over time and space in the European Union. Using multilevel regressions, I compare the effect size of nationality and financial status on fundamental preference differences. I analyse a selection of ideologically salient issues representing three core policy conflict dimensions (socio-economic, socio-cultural, European integration) in a novel dataset based on Eurobarometer surveys over eleven years (2008-2018) containing more than 800.000 respondents. I find that even if polarization between financial status groups within all three dimensions has increased over time, country differences continue to be the major predictor for ideological divisions in Europe. The findings of this study have mixed implications for the future of European integration. While there is increased common agreement among the European population on some issues (e.g. the importance of environmental protection), there is a rising dissent in terms of financial status and nationalities on other issues (e.g. how to finance social welfare). The European vision of more cohesiveness with shared goals and common values seems to be very far off still.


Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Workshop

Organiser:
Prof. Ellen M. Immergut (EUI - Department of Political and Social Sciences)

Contact:
Jennifer Rose Dari (EUI - Department of Political and Social Sciences) - Send a mail
 
 
 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017