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INCOME INEQUALITY AND POLITICAL POLARIZATION AND FRACTURALIZATION:AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Authors


Adnan Menderes University, Nazilli IIBF Isabeyli Kampus Nazilli-Aydin, Turkey. Tel: +90 256 347-7011/136; Fax: +90 256 347-7016; Email: shakdede@adu.edu.tr. Sevtap Ceylan made a superb job in organizing the data. I thank her very much.

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the relationship between economic inequality and the distribution of votes among political parties, namely political polarization and fracturalization. Economic inequality is captured by the Gini index, whereas new measures of political polarization and fracturalization are offered. This is the first paper to calculate political polarization and fracturalization indices by a methodology previously used for ethnic, religious and linguistic polarization and fracturalization. Empirical analysis uses data for 17 European countries and for three decades, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. It is shown that increased income inequality increases political party polarization and reduces fracturalization and that political party polarization decreases with increased GDP per capita.

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