What's Right about the Left-Right Dimension? The Causes and the Consequences of Ideological Inconsistency on Economic Issues in Germany

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Abstract

There is growing evidence that policy preferences of citizens on economic issues do not follow an ideological left-right pattern; that is, from the perspective of political science theory, citizens' economic policy preferences are ideologically inconsistent. This article examines this phenomenon for the German case. It shows that a large share of German citizens have ideologically inconsistent views on economic issues. The article further investigates the causes of this ideological inconsistency and its consequences for democratic representation: citizens with inconsistent views tend to be more dissatisfied with their own societal position and tend to have less political knowledge. The article further shows that citizens with ideologically inconsistent views are less satisfied with democracy and less likely to vote in elections, because they cannot find adequate representation among the established parties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-603
Number of pages23
JournalGerman politics
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • SOCIAL-POLICY PREFERENCES
  • WELFARE-STATE
  • ATTITUDES
  • EGALITARIANISM
  • REDISTRIBUTION
  • EUROPE
  • CHOICE

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