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Partisan Waves: International Business Cycles and Electoral Choice


  • Thanks to Christopher Anderson, Raymond Duch, Steve Fisher, Robert Franzese, John Freeman, Jeffry Frieden, Lucy Goodhart, Jennifer Hadden, Jude Hays, Tim Hellwig, Christian Houle, Seth Jolly, David Karol, Luke Keele, Angela O'Mahoney, Michael Peress, Bing Powell, Eric Reinhard, Stephanie Rickard, Ronald Rogowski, Thomas Romer, David Rueda, Martin Steinwand, Margit Tavits, Vera Troeger, Christopher Way, and Chris Wlezien. Previous versions have been presented at Oxford, Rochester, and Princeton as well as at the 2007 annual meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association, the American Political Science Association, and the International Political Economy Society. Support for various versions of this article has been provided by Nuffield College, Oxford, and by Lanni/Wallis & PEPR Grants, University of Rochester. I am grateful to Taehee Whang and Fabiana Machado for research assistance.

Mark Andreas Kayser is Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics, Hertie School of Governance, Quartier 110, Friedrichstrasse 180, 10117 Berlin, Germany (


Pundits have often claimed, but scholars have never found, that partisan swings in the vote abroad predict electoral fortunes at home. Employing semiannual Eurobarometer data on vote intention in eight European countries, this article provides statistical evidence of international comovement in partisan vote intention and its provenance in international business cycles. Electoral support for “luxury parties,” those parties associated with higher spending and taxation, covaries across countries together with the business cycle. Both the domestic and international components of at least one economic aggregate—unemployment—prove a strong predictor of shifts in domestic vote intention. Globalization, by driving business cycle integration, is also synchronizing partisan cycles.

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