Spatial Competition in Europe after the Great Recession. An Analysis of Ideal and Real Ideological Positions in Italy, Spain, and France

  1. García Sanz, María Dolores 1
  2. Llamazares, Iván 1
  3. Manrique García, María Aurora 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Salamanca

    Universidad de Salamanca

    Salamanca, España


Revista internacional de sociología

ISSN: 0034-9712

Year of publication: 2018

Issue Title: Variedades del populismo en Europa tras la Gran Recesión

Volume: 76

Issue: 4

Pages: 2

Type: Article

DOI: 10.3989/RIS.2018. DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Revista internacional de sociología


European party systems have experienced crucial changes over the last few decades. Key among these changes have been the electoral punishment of incumbent parties, the political activation of populist attitudes, and the emergence of new parties. These phenomena have been strongly conditioned by the intensity of the economic crisis experienced by European countries. The analyses we present here constitute a first attempt to comparatively examine the main characteristics of spatial and ideological party competition in Spain, France, and Italy after the Great Recession. Our analysis compares actual ideological positions (as perceived by all voters) to the ideal or optimal ideological party positions predicted by spatial competition models based on proximity and directional voting, always on the assumption that parties will choose those positions that allow them to maximize their vote shares. Our analysis aims at assessing the degree to which public attitudes connected to the Great Recession, in particular, government evaluations and populist attitudes, have affected ideological locations. Our results show that there are appreciable differences between the estimates inferred from models using crisis-related variables and those derived from models that did not include such variables. The analysis also shows that the estimates based on models using governmental performance evaluations and populist attitudes are slightly closer to the real positions of political parties. Finally, we also observe that differences in ideal estimates are larger in Spain and Italy, that is, in the two countries that suffered the most during the Great Recession.

Funding information

The authors acknowledge financial support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation Project CSO2013-47667-P.


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