EPAC – a
new dataset on ethnonationalism in
party competition in 22 European democracies”
In contemporary European multinational democracies parties seeking to defend the interests of ethnonational groups are flourishing. Whereas some of these parties have adopted a radical, secessionist programme that challenges the very existence of the polities they inhabit, others seek to accommodate the interests of ‘their’ ethnonational group in more moderate ways. Several small-N studies have begun to draw attention to this variance in the policy positions adopted by ethnonational parties in competition (Bochsler and Sz÷csik, 2010; Caspersen, 2010; Chandra, 2005; Coakley, 2008; Zuber, 2011). The variance appears to be particularly puzzling from the perspective of the ethnic outbidding model of party competition in ethnically plural societies. The model expects that parties appealing to voters on the basis of ethnic identity categories will be most successful in competition if they outbid each other by choosing ever more radical positions. This exacerbates intergroup conflict and challenges democratic stability in the long run (Horowitz, 1985; Rabushka and Shepsle, 1972).
Tables and Figures:
Table 1. Validity and reliability problems of expert surveys.
Table 2. Assessing the measurement model for the ethnonational dimension of party competition.
Table 3. Cross-classified variance components analysis of variables.
Table 4. Cross-validating party placements on EU positions.
Table 5. Placement correlations.
Most prominently, whereas a full test of the ethnic outbidding model would require longitudinal data, the cross-sectional EPAC data provide the first stepping stone towards this aim, as they map the varying radicalism of ethnonational parties across European contexts. Furthermore, the dataset also allows a systematic analysis of ethnonational parties' location in multidimensional political space. Apart from some classifications provided for Western Europe by Massetti (2009), to the best of our knowledge the topic of whether and how ethnonational parties combine their ethnic appeal with stances on other dimensions has so far been neglected.Finally, although ethno-regional parties in Western Europe and ethnic minority parties in Eastern Europe are empirically similar phenomena, they have until now not been addressed in a comprehensive, European-wide study. The EPAC dataset covers parties in Western and Eastern European multinational democracies and can hopefully inspire scholars to fill this gap in the future