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Department of Political and Social Sciences

SPS theses of the month: April

The Department of Political and Social Sciences is delighted to announce that during the month of April Jan Dollbaum successfully defended his dissertation.

24 April 2024 | Research


Congratulations to Jan Dollbaum, from the Department of Political and Social Sciences, for receiving his doctorate in April 2024 after unanimous decisions from the jury.

Jan Dollbaum defended his PhD thesis entitled Party system change during crises on 18 April 2024. In his thesis, Dollbaum develops and tests a new theory of party system change following a major exogenous shock. The case he focuses on is the impact of the Great Recession in the early 2010s on the party systems in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Greece and Ireland. The thesis is innovative in several respects. First, the thesis expands existing theories of party system change, in particular how the interaction between government/representational failure and the strategic behaviour of challenger parties can lead to dramatic switches in party support. Second, in terms of method, the thesis combines "quantitative analytic narratives", where Dollbaum weaves together quantitative data, text analysis and process tracing to tell the stories of how the crises played out in Italy, Spain and Portugal, with cross-sectional and time-series estimations of the determinants of support for challenger and governing parties. Third, key empirical discoveries of the thesis include: that the collapse in support for governing parties following the implementation of economic austerity was significantly larger than had previously been suggested and that the impact of challenger parties' messages strongly depends on establishing a communication channel. Overall, the results of this project will be interesting to scholars of parties and elections as well as of political economy and public policy.

Read Jan Dollbaum's thesis in Cadmus.

Last update: 30 April 2024

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