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Daniele Caramani, "The Europeanization of electoral politics: An analysis of converging voting distributions in 30 European party systems, 1970-2008," Party Politics, 18 (November, 2012), 803-823. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
This article analyses patterns of convergence of voting behaviour and party systems in Europe from 1970 until the present. How similar are European party systems? Are they becoming more alike and in what respect? The broader issue underlying these questions is whether or not there exists something like a 'European' electorate, or if, on the contrary, Europe is still composed of many different national electorates. Can one observe a process of 'Europeanization' of electoral politics? To address these questions, the article employs concepts and measures from the literature on the 'nationalization' of politics that in recent years has produced major comparative work on the integration and formation of national electorates and party systems.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Number of countries in which party families are present (absolute numbers and percentages of total countries, 1970-2008)
Figure 1. Number of countries in which a party family is present as a percentage of the total number of countries, 1970-2008 (five-year period averages)
Figure 2. The homogeneity of the vote for families across countries: average for all party families in Europe, 1970-2008 (five-year period averages)
Figure 3. Homogeneity of the vote for families across countries, 1970-2008 (five-year period averages)
Figure 4. Percentage of votes for families in Western Europe (1970-2008) and Central-Eastern Europe (1990-2008): five-year period averages
Figure 5. Percentage of votes for families by countries in Western Europe, 1975-2005 (five-year period averages). Note: For space reasons 1970-74, 1980-84, 1990-94 and 2000-04 are not depicted.
Figure 6. Percentage of votes for families by countries in Central and Eastern Europe, 1990-2005 (five-year period averages) tural dimensions. Today, as 100 years ago, left-right plays an integration role in Europe.

Last Paragraph:
What this study shows is that European electorates and party systems are very similar and that there are the premises for an organizational integration of parties beyond mere federations. In fact, the converging patterns described above since the 1970s when an elected European Parliament was created are likely to be part of a much longer historical process. This goes beyond the aims of this article, but the fundamental homogeneity points to the role of the large parties of the left-right dimension that dominate European politics since the momentous change towards mass and class politics at the end of the nineteenth century.

Last updated November 2012