Previous literature has shown that while parties respond to citizens' demands, this responsiveness is unequal, that is to say, skewed towards upper-class citizens. However, while responsiveness to different groups changes over time, no study has examined specifically whether unequal responsiveness is affected by macroeconomic shocks. To answer this question, I use the 2008 Great Recession in Western Europe to analyse congruence between public opinion and parties' positions regarding redistribution, looking for differences between social groups, both before and during the crisis. Relying on theory about the limitations on responsiveness due to the constraints arising from globalisation and European integration, I argue that during the Great Recession, congruence regarding redistribution became more skewed towards upper-class, especially in the countries most affected by the crisis, as parties had less room to manoeuvre and knew that they would need to apply austerity measures once in office. This would have made them to adopt less pro-redistribution stances, therefore becoming closer to the positions of upper-class citizens and increasing the gap in responsiveness towards upper- and lower-class citizens. To answer these issues, I rely on data from the European Social Survey and the Manifesto Project Dataset, analysing elections between 2002 and 2013 in 18 West European countries.
The Zoom link will be sent upon registration. If you would like to receive the paper, please contact [email protected].