Anatomy of Voting Behaviour and Attitudes During Post-Communist Transition Czech Republic 1990-98
How does implementing harsh economic reforms influence voting behaviour? And how do the patterns of political support change over the course of transition? We analyse these issues using data from a sequence of 11 opinion surveys conducted in the Czech Republic between 1990-98. We find that - while voters’ ideological position and some socio-economic characteristics, such as age and education - tend to have a stable impact on voting behaviour over time, economic outcomes, such as employment status, income and unemployment, only affect political preferences in the later stages of the transition. This is consistent with the predictions of the theoretical literature on political constraints during transition – as the uncertainty about reform’s outcomes dissipates, constituencies of winners and losers emerge. The winners are the young, educated, high-wage earners and workers employed in de novo private firms. The losers, on the other hand, are the elderly, low-skilled and low-wage workers and the unemployed. The balance between these two constituencies then determines the support for reform-minded and left-wing parties at election time.
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