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What parties are and what parties do: Partisanship and welfare state reform in an era of austerity
Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), Oslo, Norway.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2011 (English)In: Socio-Economic Review, ISSN 1475-1461, Vol. 9, no 4, 613-638 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The New Politics perspective holds that there is no room for partisanship to matter for welfare state policies in the present ‘era of austerity’. Proponents of power resources theory disagree. In this paper, we show how an emphasis on the actual degree of ideological polarization between left and right can move this debate forward. In essence, the disagreement regarding the role of partisanship is (a) over the degree of party polarization, (b) whether party polarization on redistributive issues still mobilizes voters to vote in accordance with their economic interest and (c) whether political parties are able to make their ideologies count in the post-electoral arena. Combining data from three comparative data sources, we show (a) that there is no general decline in party polarization, (b) that high levels of party polarization are associated with stronger income stratification of the vote and (c) partisan ideology matters for changes in welfare state generosity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 9, no 4, 613-638 p.
Keyword [en]
welfare state, comparative politics, political economy, government
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-166247DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwr003ISI: 000295181900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-166247DiVA: diva2:475754
Available from: 2012-01-11 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2015-08-12Bibliographically approved

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