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Economic Crisis, Globalization, and Partisan Bias: Evidence from Spain



Who do citizens blame for the recent European economic crisis? In this paper, we test theories about blame attribution with respect to the economic crisis. We argue that blame for the crisis is partially conditioned by partisan bias and framings of the crisis as being related to globalization. We test the argument with new survey data and a survey experiment from Spain. In the experiment, respondents receive different framings of the economic crisis which are endorsed by different political parties and non-partisan organizations. We obtain the following findings: (i) blame for who is responsible for the economic crisis is greatly affected by partisanship; (ii) making globalization as a cause of the crisis salient exonerates the government of blame, but only for co-partisans of the government; and (iii) citizens are willing to blame other globalization-related factors for the crisis, in particular, European governments and blame the domestic government less. The results expand our understanding of public opinion dynamics during major economic recessions and also suggest conditions under which “scapegoating” globalization can occur.