Our introduction to the special issue of Party Politics.
The aim of the special issue is to investigate through a comparative lens the impact of the recent economic crisis and consequent austerity measures on party competition and political representation in Europe. All six contributions focus on the substance of political conflict and provide new insights about the impact of the crisis on (a) the policy agendas of political parties, (b) the relationship between government and opposition parties, and (c) on how citizens’ preferences are represented by political parties. Theoretically, the contributions link the literatures on party competition, responsiveness, agenda-setting, and social movements. Empirically, they provide new empirical material, in particular on the countries in Southern Europe which were hard hit by the crisis. This introduction briefly discusses the rationale of the special issue and summarizes the focus and findings of the six contributions.
Keywords: Economic crisis, party competition, political representation, Europe, Southern Europe
Pre-print version, published in Party Politics 24(1): 3-9.