A New Political Divide? Political ideology and its economic implications

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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The traditional debate on political ideology has been dominated by the view that political preferences are either left or right. However, recent events in the political landscape have blemished this traditional view of ideology, raising questions as: is the left-right divide ill-suited for the contemporary political environment? And if so, what could be an alternative ideological divide? Inspired by these questions, this thesis studies the role of political ideology in political economy research.
Firstly, it is studied whether the effect of upward income mobility on preferences for income redistribution varies between individuals with different political preferences. It is found that support for redistribution is lower among right-wing individuals that expect upward income movements. Left-wing individuals support redistribution regardless of their income expectations.
Secondly, it is tested whether the left-right measure is still suited to measure traditional, i.e. economic, preferences. It is found that only the right-side of the left-right divide can explain such preferences. Subsequently, the dimensionality of political ideology is studied, on the basis of which an alternative measure is proposed. This alternative captures four dimensions of ideology: preferences for economic equality; preferences for markets and efficiency; preferences for self-determination; and nationalist, protectionist and populist preferences.
Thirdly, sources of heterogeneity in political ideology are studied by examining values and beliefs of students. It is tested whether there are individual differences in values and beliefs, and whether and how these change over time. Significant heterogeneity in students’ values and beliefs is found. Moreover, studying a certain discipline confirms and strengthens this heterogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Garretsen, Harry, Supervisor
  • Jong A Pin, Richard, Co-supervisor
Award date14-Feb-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1324-2
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1323-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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