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Title: Redistribution in parliamentary democracies : the role of second-dimensional identity politics
Author: Amat, Francesc
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 2749
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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In this dissertation I explore the redistributive effects of second-dimensional identity politics in parliamentary democracies. Specifically, I focus on parties’ electoral incentives to manipulate the salience of the territorial-identity cleavage. My main argument is that a greater electoral salience of the second dimension distorts the nature of redistributive outcomes. Although the redistributive effects of second dimensions of political competition have been explored in majoritarian democracies, much less is known about their effects in democracies with proportional representation (PR). The dissertation brings “bad news” in that regard: when the territorial second dimension is salient, it is no longer true that parliamentary democracies with proportional electoral systems redistribute more –which is the prevalent view in the existing literature. In fact, the so called “left-bias” of PR systems vanishes when the territorial-identity cleavage is politically activated. This key insight therefore offers a fundamental qualification to the institutionalism literature, by making an effort to understand the way in which regional diversity interacts with institutions through multidimensional political competition. The dissertation is divided in two parts: one theoretical and one empirical. First, I develop a formal model that illustrates the way in which parties’ second-dimension electoral incentives affect both the electoral stage and the subsequent post-electoral coalition bargaining among parties in national parliaments. The reason is that both right-wing and regionalist parties have incentives to increase the salience of the second dimension at the electoral stage to attract voters, and subsequently the coalition bargaining among parties in parliaments offers new opportunities for legislative coalitions. In the second part of the dissertation, I test the empirical implications at the macro-level, the meso-level and the individual-level. The main empirical results can be summarised as follows. First, I present empirical evidence according to which the legislative salience of the second dimension induces a negative effect on redistribution and a positive effect on the regionalisation of public policy. Second, I provide evidence which shows that both right-wing and regionalist parties strategically increase the electoral salience of the second dimension when they are “losers” on the first dimension. Finally, I illustrate the way in which the salience of the second dimension affects the formation of individual preferences for redistribution. In sum, this dissertation provides new arguments and empirical evidence that demonstrates how second dimensional politics can have profound redistributive consequences in parliamentary democracies.
Supervisor: Beramendi, Pablo; Rueda, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: European democracies ; Public policy ; Political science ; Political ideologies ; Public administration ; Welfare state reform and change ; Ethnic minorities and ethnicity ; National identity ; Social cleavages ; Elections ; Ideologies ; redistribution ; parliamentary democracies ; identity politics ; welfare ; geography