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Title: The intergenerational transmission of party preferences within the family
Author: Pesquera Menéndez, Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 8963
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the similarity of partisanship preferences between parents and children. It is the first study that provides an overview of all the factors that have a potential effect on family political transmission. Drawing on the traditions of political science and sociology, it examines individual, family, and context level factors. Additionally, it is the first attempt to elucidate which theoretical perspective better accounts for the observed intergenerational association of partisanship. Although this issue is frequently discussed in the political socialisation literature, academics have traditionally assumed a direct influence of parents on the partisan orientation of their children, whereas the intergenerational association of partisan preferences can also be explained from a rational choice perspective, assuming that parents have an indirect effect on children through other individual variables such as education and class. My examination of the various factors seeks to clarify to what extent these theoretical views are suited to explain this phenomenon. The analysis draws on British data from both the BHPS and the BES. In the first part of the thesis, cross- sectional multivariate regression models are carried out in order to investigate how particular individual and family level factors shape the transmission of partisanship within the family. Next, longitudinal models are applied in order to examine the endurance of parental influence on children's partisan orientation. As regards individual variables, girls seem to be more likely to reflect parental party preferences and less likely to develop a partisan orientation when compared to boys. Furthermore, respondents show a tendency to depart from parental partisan preferences as they age. Although education and class differences between parents and children are significantly related to differences in partisanship, a direct effect of individual class and education mobility on partisanship cannot be confirmed. Regarding family variables, parent's interest in politics and parents' agreement do not always enhance parent-child similarity. Children who live in lone parent households are significantly different from children who live in dual-parental households, but the size of the household has no significant effect on partisan transmission. Turning to the endurance of parental influence, voters whose parents used to maintain a clear party orientation are more likely to develop a party orientation themselves. On the other hand, the likelihood of reflecting parental orientations weakens substantially when respondents move out of the family household. Also, the longer children live together with parents, the greater the likelihood that they reflect parental partisanship. Contrary to prior expectations, there is no evidence to claim that newer generations display lower levels of parent-child similarity than older generations. However the percentage of children and parents in the sample who support the same political party has declined in the previous decades, and there seems to be some evidence to argue that this phenomenon is causally related to the dealigmnent of parents. In sum, the findings seem to favour an interpretation of family transmission in which both elements of a direct and an indirect influence of parents on children are present, and this thesis therefore provides some support to both socialisation and rational choice theoretical accounts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available