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Blame and contention: how perceptions of the government's role in the economic crisis shape patterns of political action

Published inActa Politica, vol. 54, p. 346-370
Publication date2019
Abstract

In this paper we analyse the extent to which perceptions of the government's role in the economic crisis impacted on the political behaviour of European citizens. This includes contentious political activities such as attending public meetings, participating in demonstrations, and joining strikes, but also electoral behaviour in the form of voting against the incumbent. We examine data from 2015 since it allows us to examine European nations experiencing different economic conditions as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent period of recession. We find that individuals who blamed the national government for the economic crisis and who were more unsatisfied with the government's handling of unemployment were more likely to participate. However, the effect of these variables varied across different forms of political behaviour. Moreover, the study provides evidence that the effect of the perceptions of one's own economic situation on political behaviour is conditional upon the perceptions people have of the way in which the government is dealing with the situation, and specifically with unemployment, a key marker of the extent of the negative effects of the economic crisis across European nations.

Keywords
  • Political behaviour
  • Economic perceptions
  • Blame assignment
  • Economic adversity
  • Policy-oriented evaluations
Citation (ISO format)
GIUGNI, Marco, GRASSO, Maria T. Blame and contention: how perceptions of the government’s role in the economic crisis shape patterns of political action. In: Acta Politica, 2019, vol. 54, p. 346–370. doi: 10.1057/s41269-017-0073-x
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ISSN of the journal0001-6810
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