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Journal Article

The Effect of Austerity Packages on Government Popularity During the Great Recession


Bremer,  Björn
Politische Ökonomie von Wachstumsmodellen, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Bojar, A., Bremer, B., Kriesi, H., & Wang, C. (2021). The Effect of Austerity Packages on Government Popularity During the Great Recession. British Journal of Political Science, (published online January 21). doi:10.1017/S0007123420000472.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-DD51-5
During the Great Recession, governments across the continent implemented austerity policies. A large literature claims that such policies are surprisingly popular and have few electoral costs. This article revisits this question by studying the popularity of governments during the economic crisis. The authors assemble a pooled time-series data set for monthly support for ruling parties from fifteen European countries and treat austerity packages as intervention variables to the underlying popularity series. Using time-series analysis, this permits the careful tracking of the impact of austerity packages over time. The main empirical contributions are twofold. First, the study shows that, on average, austerity packages hurt incumbent parties in opinion polls. Secondly, it demonstrates that the magnitude of this electoral punishment is contingent on the economic and political context: in instances of rising unemployment, the involvement of external creditors and high protest intensity, the cumulative impact of austerity on government popularity becomes considerable.