Generational differences in determinants of party choice


Socio-cultural issues (e.g., immigration, environmental protection) have become more important as determinants of party choice. This partially explains the increasing success of parties at opposite ends of this socio-cultural divide (green and populist radical Right parties). However, generational differences in patterns of realignment are understudied. We argue that, in order to understand patterns of realignment, we need to study generational differences in the mechanisms determining party choice.
We expect that citizens are socialized into evaluating political parties on the basis of the considerations that are most relevant during their late adolescence and early adulthood. These factors remain important for them later in life. So, if the party system realigns along new social and political divisions, changing patterns of party choice will be most visible among the youngest generations, while older generations respond less to these new conditions.
We propose two PhD-projects. The first is a large-scale comparative study to assess to what extent party choice is determined by different factors across different generations and countries. The second project studies how people develop partisan orientations during their impressionable years by a survey that will be conducted among Dutch youngsters and their parents.
We integrate and contribute theoretical insights from two areas of research. First, research on realignment focuses on changes in the factors that determine party choice, but ignores generational differences. Second, the field of political socialization has studied the effects of life cycles and generations on vote choice, but has ignored generational differences in the mechanisms by which voters choose.





Prof. dr. W. van der Brug

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen, Politicologie


01/01/2020 tot 30/06/2024