Who responds to protest? Protest politics and party responsiveness in Western Europe.

with Rens Vliegenthart. Party Politics. OnlineFirst DOI: 10.1177/1354068816657375


This paper addresses the questions of whether and why political parties respond to media-covered street protests. To do so, it adopts an agenda-setting approach and traces issue attention in protest politics and parliament over several years in four West European countries (France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland). The paper innovates in two ways. First, it does not treat the parties in parliament as a unitary actor but focuses on the responses of single parties. Second, partisan characteristics are introduced that might condition the effect of protest on parliamentary activity. More precisely, it assesses the explanatory power of ideological factors (left-right orientation and radicalism) and other factors related to issue competition between parties (opposition status, issue ownership, and contagion). The results show that parties do respond to street protests in the news, and they are more likely to respond if they are in opposition and if their competitors have reacted to the issue.

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