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The Dog that Didn’t Bark: On the Effect of the Great Recession on the Surge of Secessionism

Listed author(s):
  • Xavier Cuadras Morató
  • Toni Rodon

This paper explores the relationship between the economic turmoil generated by the Great Recession and the increase of secessionism in different regions of Western countries. Some authors have stressed that the Great Recession triggered profound changes in political attitudes and preferences and, in the context of a conflict between the centre and the periphery, fuelled secessionism as a radical shift of the institutional setup. Nevertheless, other researchers have remarked that a deep recession may make voters more accommodating with the status quo and more reluctant to take radical stances. Our paper aims at contributing to this debate by analyzing the case of Catalonia. We use the variation of economic variables and data from surveys and electoral outcomes at the level of municipalities to explore the relationship between the deterioration of the economic situation (that is, the local variation in the intensity of the crisis) and the increase of preferences for secession among the Catalan population. The findings from the analysis of our empirical models do not support the hypothesis that the heterogeneous effects of the Great Recession had any significant impact on political preferences at the level of municipality in Catalonia. These findings contribute to our understanding of the effects of hard economic times on people’s attitudes and behaviour.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 968.

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Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:968
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  1. Nadeau, Richard & Martin, Pierre & Blais, Andr, 1999. "Attitude Towards Risk-Taking and Individual Choice in the Quebec Referendum on Sovereignty," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 523-539, June.
  2. Vincenzo Galasso, 2014. "The role of political partisanship during economic crises," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 143-165, January.
  3. Allan Drazen & William Easterly, 2001. "Do Crises Induce Reform? Simple Empirical Tests of Conventional Wisdom," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 129-157, 07.
  4. Clarke, Harold D. & Kornberg, Allan & Stewart, Marianne C., 2004. "Referendum Voting as Political Choice: The Case of Quebec," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 345-355, April.
  5. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-1155, December.
  6. Marc Guinjoan & Toni Rodon, 2016. "A Scrutiny of the Linz-Moreno Question," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 128-142.
  7. Tim Willems, 2014. "You Can Go Your Own Way: Explaining Partisan Support for Independence," Economics Series Working Papers 717, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Paolo Dardanelli, 2005. "Democratic Deficit or the Europeanisation of Secession? Explaining the Devolution Referendums in Scotland," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 53, pages 320-342, 06.
  9. May Elsayyad & Shima’a Hanafy, 2014. "Voting Islamist or voting secular? An empirical analysis of voting outcomes in Egypt’s “Arab Spring”," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 109-130, July.
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