Social, Political and Economic Consequences of the Nationalization of Party Systems (Johannes Besch)

Research investigating the nationalization of party systems deals with how electoral support is distributed for parties across districts. Two dimensions can be distinguished. The static dimension describes the homogeneity of party support across districts and the dynamic dimension whether trends for party support affect districts homogenously. A variety of measures of the phenomenon have been developed and applied. So far, researchers have focussed on explaining why different countries have different degrees of nationalization. Thus, nationalization has been mainly investigated as political outcome, analysing the consequences of the nationalization is on the other hand rare.

I want to shift the focus to the consequences of different nationalization degrees in my dissertation project. Do more regionalised or nationalised systems offer opportunities for different type of politicians to become MP? How is public spending distributed in the different systems? A systematic analysis how more regionalised or nationalised systems differ regarding socio-political and economic outcomes will be at the heart of the dissertation project. I am planning to analyse empirically with data on careers of MP’s and data on public spending whether different nationalization degrees predict significantly country-differences.

Furthermore, studies explaining differences of nationalization degrees between countries focus usually on causes at the macro-level while vote support is essentially at the micro-level. Consequently, scrutinising explanations at the micro-level might help explaining country-differences as well. In particular, I want to investigate whether the mobility of the population is a long-term explanation why countries have more nationalised party systems and whether the socio-economic distribution of voters plays a role. I want to apply here a time-series analyses. In addition, the different methods to measure nationalization call for replication studies to assure that the type of measurement does not affect significantly the empirical findings of published studies.