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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The salience of nationalism and economic polarization : long term trends and electoral dynamics Lachance, Sarah


This research explores the relationship between ethnic cleavages and the class cleavage with data from the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) on liberal democracies from 1945 to 2015. According to the “freezing” thesis of Lipset & Rokkan (1967: 12), multinational countries have developed a weaker class cleavage because of anterior territorial-cultural cleavages. In the first part of the data analysis, multinational countries are compared against others on the two variables used to measure these cleavages: the salience of nationalism and economic polarization. Multinational countries show a higher salience of nationalism, as expected, and lower economic polarization. The second part of the data analysis addresses the relationship between the salience of nationalism and economic polarization in multinational countries. The regression analysis offers a dynamic account of the relationship between these variables across elections. The contextual model, also called “within-between random effects model” (REWB), explicitly models cross-country heterogeneity by separating them from within-country variance, which allows the disentanglement of long-term effects at the country level from short-term effects at the election level. The hypothesized negative relationship between the salience of nationalism and economic polarization holds at both hierarchical levels until the new democracies of the 90s are controlled for, which are confounding the effect of the country-level nationalism variable. However, the negative effect of nationalism on economic polarization remains stable at the election level. This thesis contributes to the scholarship stemming from Lipset & Rokkan’s (1967) by accounting for the short-term effect of the salience of ethnic cleavages on economic polarization at the election level.

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