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Party System Transformation and the Structure of Political Cleavages in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, 1967-2019

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  • Carmen Durrer de La Sota

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Amory Gethin

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Clara Martinez-Toledano

    (Imperial College London, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

Abstract

This paper combines post-electoral surveys to study the transformation of the structure of political cleavages in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland over the last five decades. Despite their history of linguistic, regional, and religious conflicts, all four countries share a common tradition of consensus decision-making, which has remained until the present. Yet, the weakening of historical cleavages, the emergence of new political formations (i.e. Green parties on the left and anti-immigration parties on the right), and the rise of new divides have significantly transformed their party systems since the 1980s. Support for green and left-wing parties among highest-educated voters, and for anti-immigration parties among the lower-educated has grown, while top-income earners have remained instead more supportive of the traditional right. Both the rise of new green and anti-immigration parties, but also changes within old parties have thus led to the emergence of "multi-elite party systems", as it has been shown in other Western democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen Durrer de La Sota & Amory Gethin & Clara Martinez-Toledano, 2021. "Party System Transformation and the Structure of Political Cleavages in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, 1967-2019," Working Papers halshs-03165720, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-03165720
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-03165720
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Piketty, 2018. "Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality & the Changing Structure of Political Conflict," Working Papers hal-02878211, HAL.
    2. Luis Bauluz & Amory Gethin, & Clara Martinez-Toledano & Marc Morgan, 2021. "Historical Political Cleavages and Post-Crisis Transformations in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, 1953-2020," Working Papers halshs-03131155, HAL.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Fabian Kosse, 2020. "Electoral Cleavages and Socioeconomic Inequality in Germany 1949-2017," Working Papers halshs-03022265, HAL.
    4. Amory Gethin, 2021. "Political Cleavages, Class Structures, and the Politics of Old and New Minorities in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, 1963-2019," Working Papers halshs-03142214, HAL.
    5. Lijphart, Arend, 1979. "Religious vs. Linguistic vs. Class Voting: The “Crucial Experiment†of Comparing Belgium, Canada, South Africa, and Switzerland," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 442-458, June.
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    1. Amory Gethin & Clara Martínez-Toledano & Thomas Piketty, 2022. "Brahmin Left Versus Merchant Right: Changing Political Cleavages in 21 Western Democracies, 1948–2020," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 137(1), pages 1-48.
    2. Amory Gethin, 2021. "Political Cleavages and the Representation of Social Inequalities in Japan 1953-2017," Working Papers halshs-03215888, HAL.

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