A shock to the system: assessing the party system implications of Europe’s austerity doctrine

Foxe, Jana “A shock to the system: assessing the party system implications of Europe’s austerity doctrine”

In the wake of the Great Recession and the European sovereign debt crisis, many Eurozone countries found themselves almost insolvent. In an attempt to preserve the future of the common currency, supranational entities such as the IMF and the ECB prescribed a harsh treatment - deep budget cuts, tax hikes and other fiscal policies, often to the dismay of national governments. When a democratic government loses sovereignty over economic policy, and is essentially forced to implement a deeply unpopular and ineffective policy to please its creditors, how does this impact the structure of a country’s party system? My project evaluates the consequences of the ‘democratic deficit’ that characterize contemporary economic policy making in Europe with a comprehensive analysis of elections and party system stability indicators in bailout and non-bailout countries before and since the imposition of austerity measures, focusing on the rise of polarization, fragmentation and other changes that threaten party system stability in Europe.