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Contemporary political behavior is often affected by historical legacies, but the specific mechanisms through which these legacies are transmitted are difficult to pin down. This paper argues that historical political conflicts can affect political behavior over several generations when they trigger an enduring organizational mobilization. It studies how the oppression of German Catholics in the nineteenth century led to a regionally differentiated mobilization of political Catholicism that still affects political support for the radical right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) today. Using newly collected data on historical oppression events, it shows that Catholic regions where oppression was intense saw greater mobilization of Catholic lay organizations than Catholic regions where oppression was milder and show lower support for the AfD today. The paper thus contributes to the literature on the historical determinants of political behavior as well as to the question of which regional context effects strengthen or weaken the radical right.
What are the political effects of fiscal consolidations? Theoretical considerations suggest that consolidations should reduce the public’s support for their governments, but empirical studies have found surprisingly small effects on government support. However, most of these studies analyze electoral outcomes, which are separated from the consolidation by a multi-link causal chain. We argue that more direct measures of government support, such as executive approval, show much stronger negative effects of consolidation, since they are less affected by the strategic timing of consolidations or the political alternatives on offer. We analyze a time series cross-sectional dataset of executive approval in 14 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries from 1978 to 2014, using the narrative approach to measure fiscal consolidations. We find that spending cuts decrease government approval, especially during economic downturns, but tax increases’ impact on approval remains minimal. Finally, left- and right-wing governments are equally likely to lose approval after implementing austerity.
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