Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Home | Contact

Stephen Whitefield and Robert Rohrschneider "Stability and Change in Political Cleavages in Central and Eastern Europe". Working paper.


In contrast to often negative expectations about the nature of political cleavages in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe, previous work by the authors has shown that the cleavages underlying party competition in the region, particularly those related to issues connected with social inequality and welfare policies, structure the range of choices available to voters along lines that reflect regionally and nationally relevant political and economic concerns. Theoretically, these results provided a much more positive picture of the character of party competition and of democratic responsiveness in post-Communist states than is generally accepted. Little attention as yet, however, has been paid to considering the stability of social inequality and other cleavages, evidence for which would add further positive weight to the emerging picture of party competition in the region. The question of stability is particularly pertinent given the elements of ongoing weakness and volatility that can still be observed in aspects of party systems in the region. This paper addresses this issue of cleavage stability using comparable data on cleavages from expert surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007 in thirteen countries.