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The Impact of Economic Crises on Political Representation in Public Communication: Evidence from the Eurozone

  • Simon Weschle

Abstract

External threats such as war have been shown to disrupt representation as politicians ‘put politics aside’ and cooperate across cleavages. This article examines whether a severe economic crisis can have a similar effect. It introduces a new approach that provides a spatial representation of how political parties represent societal actors in their public interactions, based on more than 140,000 machine coded news events from eleven eurozone countries between 2001 and 2011. The study shows that in bad economic times, there is a compression of political representation: parties’ relationships with the societal groups they are closest to become less cooperative, while their relationships with the groups they are least close to become less conflictual.

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Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University (email: swweschl@maxwell.syr.edu). For comments and suggestions, I am thankful to the anonymous reviewers, James Adams, Andreas Beger, Pablo Beramendi, Cassy Dorff, Andrew Eggers, Justin Gross, Jan Pierskalla, Karen Remmer and especially Michael Ward. The data used in this article stem from a project supported by the Office of Naval Research (via Contract N00014-12-C-0066). Data replication sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: doi:10.7910/DVN/XVPHO1 and online appendices are available at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000023.

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The Impact of Economic Crises on Political Representation in Public Communication: Evidence from the Eurozone

  • Simon Weschle

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