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Pedro Magalhães

Financial Crisis, Austerity, and Electoral Politics

There’s a special issue of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties coming out soon, dedicated to the theme Financial Crisis, Austerity, and Electoral Politics. All the articles are already online (although unfortunately gated). Following an Introduction by yours truly, several articles look into the electoral politics of some of the countries most affected by the financial crisis in Europe. Here’s the lineup of articles and authors, to whom I am ever so grateful:

The Collapse: Economic Considerations in Vote Choice in Iceland, by Indridi H. Indridason.

A Conservative Revolution: The Electoral Response to Economic Crisis in Ireland, by Michael Marsh and Slava Mikhaylov.

The Elections of the Great Recession in Portugal: Performance Voting under a Blurred Responsibility for the Economy.

Dealignment, De-legitimation and the Implosion of the Two-Party System in Greece: The Earthquake Election of 6 May 2012, by Eftichia Teperoglou and Emmanouil Tsatsanis.

The Political Consequences of Blame Attribution for the Economic Crisis in the 2013 Italian National Election, by Paolo Bellucci.

The Incumbent Electoral Defeat in the 2011 Spanish National Elections: The Effect of the Economic Crisis in an Ideological Polarized Party System, by Mariano Torcal.

As you will see if you take the time to read them, all articles have basic common themes. How the economy affects vote choices and how bad times punish incumbents is certainly one of those themes. But that would not be a major novelty, would it? What is most interesting about this collection, if I may say so myself, is the way it shows how superficially similar manifestations of deep economic crisis may produce very different consequences, depending on the ways political gamesmanship, policy agendas, and the relative timing of economic and political crises conspire together to produce very different patterns of blame attribution and ignite (or not) deeper ideological cleavages. In Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal, large electoral punishments for incumbents were not enough to change the fundamental traits of electoral competition and voting behaviour that have characterised these countries for a long time. In Greece, Italy, and (arguably) Spain, however, larger shocks occurred, with greater transformative consequences. Enjoy.

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