Eleições Europeias em mudança: O impacto dos programas de ajustamento na Zona Euro nas campanhas das Eleições para o Parlamento

Eleições Europeias em mudança: O impacto dos programas de ajustamento na Zona Euro nas campanhas das Eleições para o Parlamento

As the pioneering work of Reif & Schmitt [1980] noted, EP elections are second-order only insofar as there is less at stake. If national political systems no longer "decide most of what there is to be decided" and "everything really important" - if such decisions are made at the EU level - then there should be a shift in how EP elections are perceived. The bailout programmes that have taken place in a number of EU member-states since 2010 thus allow us to assess the notion of EP elections as second-order national elections in a new light. These programmes - in which EU institutions and partners played a central role - imposed considerable conditionalities on the governments of the recipient countries. The economic and social impact of these conditionalities made the bailouts a very salient political issue, thus generating also considerable salience for European politics, given the central role of EU institutions and partners in the way their bailouts played out.
Overall, then, the 2014 EP elections took place in a context where, in the bailout countries, policy had been, to a non-negligible extent, shaped (or perceived to have been shaped) at the European level. Thus, following Reif & Schmitt's formulation, the 2014 elections should see a greater emphasis on the European level in the bailout countries, as compared to the preceding pre-bailout elections. Considering this, our project's overall research question is to what extent the bailout context shaped the European election campaigns in the 'bailout countries'.

Combining in our analysis two different dimensions, we seek, firstly, to empirically assess the impact of the bailouts on the 2014 European Parliament (EP) election campaigns; and, secondly, the effects of these post-bailout campaigns on citizens' attitudes towards the EU and European integration.

For our first dimension, the assessment of how the bailouts impacted on parties' communication and media coverage in the campaigns, we will use content analysis of both party campaign materials and of news media coverage. The project contrasts the 2014 EP election campaign with the previous EP campaign (2009), and the bailout countries with others in which the bailout did not take place. We frame the research as a quasi-experimental before-and-after design, with the bailouts as the experimental treatment, using two countries that underwent bailouts prior to the 2014 EP elections, Portugal and Ireland, and combining this with a most similar systems design comparative study, generating a selected sample of two non-bailout Eurozone countries as a control group. Bearing in mind the time and resource constraints, this allows us to extensively and thoroughly explore our research question and assess in a more valid manner our expectation that the referred intromission of EU institutions in the domestic political decisions of the 'bailout countries' led to more 'European' campaigns in those countries.

Our second dimension will explore the effects of this (expected) greater emphasis on Europe during the EP campaigns on the citizens' attitudes towards the EU and European integration in general. For this we use a mixed method approach that combines both survey data (with strong comparability and generalization of results) and experimental techniques, that will allow us stronger confidence in terms of internal validity of our results. Considering the lack of studies in Portugal that apply experimental methods in political science research, this methodological choice will not only be able to provide sound empirical support to our study, but will also be an important step towards the implementation of experimental methods in Portuguese political science.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

As the pioneering work of Reif & Schmitt [1980] noted, EP elections are second-order only insofar as there is less at stake. If national political systems no longer "decide most of what there is to be decided" and "everything really important" - if such decisions are made at the EU level - then there should be a shift in how EP elections are perceived. The bailout programmes that have taken place in a number of EU member-states since 2010 thus allow us to assess the notion of EP elections as second-order national elections in a new light. These programmes - in which EU institutions and partners played a central role - imposed considerable conditionalities on the governments of the recipient countries. The economic and social impact of these conditionalities made the bailouts a very salient political issue, thus generating also considerable salience for European politics, given the central role of EU institutions and partners in the way their bailouts played out.
Overall, then, the 2014 EP elections took place in a context where, in the bailout countries, policy had been, to a non-negligible extent, shaped (or perceived to have been shaped) at the European level. Thus, following Reif & Schmitt's formulation, the 2014 elections should see a greater emphasis on the European level in the bailout countries, as compared to the preceding pre-bailout elections. Considering this, our project's overall research question is to what extent the bailout context shaped the European election campaigns in the 'bailout countries'.

Combining in our analysis two different dimensions, we seek, firstly, to empirically assess the impact of the bailouts on the 2014 European Parliament (EP) election campaigns; and, secondly, the effects of these post-bailout campaigns on citizens' attitudes towards the EU and European integration.

For our first dimension, the assessment of how the bailouts impacted on parties' communication and media coverage in the campaigns, we will use content analysis of both party campaign materials and of news media coverage. The project contrasts the 2014 EP election campaign with the previous EP campaign (2009), and the bailout countries with others in which the bailout did not take place. We frame the research as a quasi-experimental before-and-after design, with the bailouts as the experimental treatment, using two countries that underwent bailouts prior to the 2014 EP elections, Portugal and Ireland, and combining this with a most similar systems design comparative study, generating a selected sample of two non-bailout Eurozone countries as a control group. Bearing in mind the time and resource constraints, this allows us to extensively and thoroughly explore our research question and assess in a more valid manner our expectation that the referred intromission of EU institutions in the domestic political decisions of the 'bailout countries' led to more 'European' campaigns in those countries.

Our second dimension will explore the effects of this (expected) greater emphasis on Europe during the EP campaigns on the citizens' attitudes towards the EU and European integration in general. For this we use a mixed method approach that combines both survey data (with strong comparability and generalization of results) and experimental techniques, that will allow us stronger confidence in terms of internal validity of our results. Considering the lack of studies in Portugal that apply experimental methods in political science research, this methodological choice will not only be able to provide sound empirical support to our study, but will also be an important step towards the implementation of experimental methods in Portuguese political science.

Objectivos: 
.
Parceria: 
Unintegrated
Patrício Costa
João Moniz
Tiago Silva
Patrícia Silva

FCT

Coordenador Geral 
Carlos Jalali
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/07/2016
End Date: 
01/06/2019
Duração: 
35 meses
Active