In this paper we investigate whether the dimensionality of political conflict in the European Parliament has changed since the ‘great recession’ (2007-2013) and the migration crisis in Europe. Based on standard scaling methods, and the roll call votes from the sixth (2004-09), seventh (2009-14), and eighth (2014-19) European Parliaments, we find that, whereas two dimensions still explain voting behaviour in the chamber, the dimensionality of the policy space has changed. Before 2014, the first dimension was clearly the classic left-right dimension and the second dimension was the pro/anti-EU dimension. After 2014, in contrast, the pro/anti-EU dimension has become the main dimension of voting while the left-right dimension has been relegated to the second dimension. This is an important piece of evidence adding to a growing literature suggesting divisions about globalization are replacing the traditional left-right dimension as the main focus of politics in advanced democracies.
Simon Hix (@simonjhix) is the Harold Laski Professor of Political Science in the LSE Department of Government, Academic Director in the LSE School of Public Policy, Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chairmane of www.VoteWatch.eu and Associate Editor of the journal "European Union Politics".
Sebastian Diessner is a PhD candidate in Political Economy at the European Institute, LSE.