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Does the Iron Curtain Still Exist? The Convergence in Electoral Volatility between Eastern and Western Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 September 2018

Vincenzo Emanuele*
Affiliation:
Vincenzo Emanuele, Department of Political Sciences, LUISS Guido Carli, Rome, Italy
Alessandro Chiaramonte
Affiliation:
Alessandro Chiaramonte, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Florence, Italy
Sorina Soare
Affiliation:
Sorina Soare, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Florence, Italy
*
*Corresponding author. Email: vemanuele@luiss.it

Abstract

The literature on party system change and electoral volatility in post-communist Europe tends to make a clear-cut distinction between Central and Eastern European (CEE) party systems and Western European (WE) ones. The former are unstable and unpredictable and electoral volatility is driven by the continuous emergence of new political parties. Conversely, electoral stability is the rule in the latter, and volatility is associated with electoral shifts among established parties. This conventional wisdom suffers from three potential sources of bias: case selection, time coverage and method. By correcting these biases, this article investigates whether the traditional division between CEE and WE party systems has been levelled as regards volatility. To do so, it presents evidence based on an original data set of electoral volatility and its internal components covering 31 WE and CEE party systems since 1990. It finds that a process of asymmetric convergence in the levels of electoral volatility is taking place between the two regions, with Western Europe approaching Central and Eastern Europe with increasing electoral instability.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2018. Published by Government and Opposition Limited and Cambridge University Press

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