The Dynamics of Policy Innovation and Paradigmatic Change
Edited by Hideko Magara
Chapter 10: How do economic crises affect electoral choices? Analysing voting behavior in the British general election of 2010
The financial crisis that originated in September 2008 had far-reaching consequences in advanced democracies. Politics was no exception. We have observed some historic changes of governments around the world during the crisis. For instance, the Democratic Party returned to government with the first African-American president in the USA and the Democratic Party of Japan took control of the Diet for the first time in history. Were these changes in governments caused by the crisis? According to Przeworski (Chapter 2, this volume), policy innovation is more likely to occur during an economic crisis. To innovate, the status quo has to be perceived as 'bad' by voters and voters must trust the party who proposed the new policy regime. This chapter examines (1) how voters perceive the crisis and (2) if the perceived crisis affects electoral outcomes, which could be consequential to policy innovations. Like the USA or Japan, the UK experienced a change of government at an election during the crisis. The Labour Party finally lost the office that Labour had held for 13 years. The last time the turnover in government parties occurred was on 1 May 1997, when Tony Blair's Labour Party defeated the Tories. The 2010 general election made the Conservative Party the leading party in the Parliament.
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