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Explaining the success of pensioners’ parties: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 31 polities

Hanley, SL; (2011) Explaining the success of pensioners’ parties: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 31 polities. In: Vanhuysse, P and Goerres, A, (eds.) Ageing Populations in Post-industrial Democracies: Comparative Studies of Policies and Politics. Routledge: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the past two decades small pensioners’ and retirees’ parties have emerged at the margins of political systems in both Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Such parties appear, at first examination, a fringe phenomenon of little interest. However, they are more widespread and persistent than other localized, ephemeral minor party phenomena and, in small number of European states have enjoyed sufficient success to exercise real electoral and political leverage, forcing larger parties to address demands, they might otherwise ignore. In rarer cases grey-interest parties have gained parliamentary and governmental influence in their own right. Moreover, ongoing population ageing in Europe suggests that, grey-interest parties should have growth potential because they can draw on a growing reservoir of elderly target voters. This chapter maps the emergence and success of pensioners’ parties in both established Western European democracies since 1980 and in the new post-communist democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) since the collapse of communism in 1989-91. It considers potential reasons for the emergence and, in some cases, the relative success examining both the ‘demand’ for pensioners’ parties generated by demographic change and patterns of welfare spending and national political opportunity structures. It then carries out an comparison of the fortunes of grey-interest parties in contemporary Europe using Charles Ragin’s Qualitative Comparative Analysis to see if patterns of systematic variation can be identified.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Explaining the success of pensioners’ parties: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 31 polities
ISBN-13: 9780415603829
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/97804156038...
Language: English
Additional information: © Routledge
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/239927
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