There is no alternative? Economic choice perceptions and their role for democratic support and voting behaviour in the Eurozone bailout countries

There is no alternative? Economic choice perceptions and their role for democratic support and voting behaviour in the Eurozone bailout countries

Over the past 10 years, the European debt crisis has severely limited the room for manoeuvre of governments in bailout countries, forcing them to choose monetary integration at the expense of democratic legitimacy and national sovereignty. As a result, satisfaction with democracy and government support in the European periphery have plummeted rapidly and have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels yet. Citizens discontent over economic policies has also caused a strong delegitimization of the political establishment, and a shift in electoral behaviour. Exploring a new avenue of research, TINA seeks to examine if a perceived lack of economic choice can explain low levels of democratic support and shifting electoral behaviour in the Eurozone bailout countries. Do citizens feel that they face increasingly meaningless elections that do not lead to changes in economic policy? This question touches upon the very fundament of democracy: voters being able to choose between policy alternatives.

The objectives of the TINA project are threefold: (1) to conceptualize economic choice and to establish a theoretical framework on the relationship between economic choice perceptions, democratic support, (2) to measure perceived economic choice through a representative cross-national online survey and experiment in the Eurozone bailout countries, and (3) to empirically determine the effect of perceived economic choice on democratic attitudes and electoral behaviour, using the collected survey and experimental data, and applying modern methods of causal and regression analysis.

By focusing on how citizens perceive economic policy choice, TINA investigates a novel concept. To date, existing studies only show differences in attitudes and voting behavior between pre-crisis and post-crisis times, without investigating which component of experiencing the Eurocrisis actually causes citizens' dissatisfaction. By developing an individual-level measure of perceived economic choice, testing this measure across countries, and by systematically evaluating the impact of economic choice perceptions on citizens attitudes and behaviour, this project will explore a new avenue of research, and contribute substantially to the fields of comparative politics, Europeanization and political behaviour. As such, TINA is the first study to undertake a comprehensive analysis of economic choice perceptions, which is a key aspect to understand the pressures on modern democracies in times of cyclical economic crises.

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

Democratic choice, economic policies, democratic support, electoral behaviour

Over the past 10 years, the European debt crisis has severely limited the room for manoeuvre of governments in bailout countries, forcing them to choose monetary integration at the expense of democratic legitimacy and national sovereignty. As a result, satisfaction with democracy and government support in the European periphery have plummeted rapidly and have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels yet. Citizens discontent over economic policies has also caused a strong delegitimization of the political establishment, and a shift in electoral behaviour. Exploring a new avenue of research, TINA seeks to examine if a perceived lack of economic choice can explain low levels of democratic support and shifting electoral behaviour in the Eurozone bailout countries. Do citizens feel that they face increasingly meaningless elections that do not lead to changes in economic policy? This question touches upon the very fundament of democracy: voters being able to choose between policy alternatives.

The objectives of the TINA project are threefold: (1) to conceptualize economic choice and to establish a theoretical framework on the relationship between economic choice perceptions, democratic support, (2) to measure perceived economic choice through a representative cross-national online survey and experiment in the Eurozone bailout countries, and (3) to empirically determine the effect of perceived economic choice on democratic attitudes and electoral behaviour, using the collected survey and experimental data, and applying modern methods of causal and regression analysis.

By focusing on how citizens perceive economic policy choice, TINA investigates a novel concept. To date, existing studies only show differences in attitudes and voting behavior between pre-crisis and post-crisis times, without investigating which component of experiencing the Eurocrisis actually causes citizens' dissatisfaction. By developing an individual-level measure of perceived economic choice, testing this measure across countries, and by systematically evaluating the impact of economic choice perceptions on citizens attitudes and behaviour, this project will explore a new avenue of research, and contribute substantially to the fields of comparative politics, Europeanization and political behaviour. As such, TINA is the first study to undertake a comprehensive analysis of economic choice perceptions, which is a key aspect to understand the pressures on modern democracies in times of cyclical economic crises.

Observações: 
TINA is funded by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., under “EXPL/CPO-CPO/0506/2021” project
Parceria: 
Unintegrated

TINA

Coordenador ICS 
Referência externa 
EXPL/CPO-CPO/0506/2021
Start Date: 
17/05/2022
End Date: 
16/11/2023
Duração: 
18 meses
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