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Natural Disasters and National Election: On the 2004 Indian Ocean Boxing Day Tsunami, the 2005 Storm Gudrun and the 2006 Historic Regime Shift
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. Handledare. (Center for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS))
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The 2006 Swedish parliamentary election was a historic election with the largest bloc transfer of voters in Swedish history. The 2002-2006 incumbent Social Democratic Party (S) received its lowest voter support since 1914 as roughly 150,000, or 8%, of the 2002 S voters went to the main opposition, the conservative Moderate Party (M). This became the most decisive factor in ousting S from power after 12 years of rule. As a result, the M-led Alliance (A) with the People's Party (FP), the Center Party (C), and the Christian Democrats (KD) won the election. Natural Disasters and National Election makes the novel contribution of proposing two natural disasters, the Indian Ocean’s 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and 2005 Storm Gudrun (Erwin), which struck only two weeks following the tsunami, as major events that impacted government popularity in the 2006 election and contributed to the redistribution of voter support, within and across party-blocs. The core findings from this thesis show that the S government’s poor crisis response to Gudrun, which is the hitherto most costly natural disaster in Swedish history, alone has an estimated effect of a magnitude that likely contributed to the 2006 historic regime shift, while the tsunami also seems to have mattered. The tsunami is particularly interesting, as S’s poor international crisis response to the event constitutes the first natural disaster situation to knowingly have affected an election on the other side of the planet. Moreover, to some degree voters recognized the active opposition by C as effective representation and rewarded the party for its strong stance on the poor handling of both events by S. In fact, the active voice of C concerning these disasters likely helped move the party from the periphery of party politics to becoming the third-largest party in Swedish politics. In sum, this research investigates accountability and effective party representation via retrospective voting, which is an essential mechanism for the legitimacy of democracy. Findings suggest that the average Swedish voter indeed may be voting retrospectively to hold publically elected officials accountable, which suggest a healthy status of the retrospective voting mechanism and Swedish democracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. , 71 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 136
Keyword [en]
accountability, retrospective voting, party support, regime shift, natural disasters, crisis response, international crisis response, international law, effective representation, multiparty systems
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-314534ISBN: 978-91-554-9813-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-314534DiVA: diva2:1071124
Public defence
2017-05-20, Sal 3576, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Gamla torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-04-25 Created: 2017-02-06 Last updated: 2017-05-05
List of papers
1. Winds of Change: Voter Blame and Storm Gudrun in the 2006 Swedish Parliamentary Election
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Winds of Change: Voter Blame and Storm Gudrun in the 2006 Swedish Parliamentary Election
2016 (English)In: Electoral Studies, ISSN 0261-3794, E-ISSN 1873-6890, Vol. 41, 129-142 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Can a natural disaster shift long-standing party support for the long-term? Studies of political behavior indicate that, as elections approach, voters punish or credit governments based on their responses to severe weather phenomena. It may still be considered an open question, however, if poor crisis response could trigger more durable shifts in long-standing party support. I provide empirical evidence suggesting that it could. I exploit a crucial case for the study of change in party support, Storm Gudrun (Erwin), to examine long lasting punishment effects over crisis response. The estimated effect is of a magnitude that equals the largest block-transfer of voters in Swedish history and can be seen over three parliamentary elections (2006, 2010 and 2014). 

Keyword
Retrospective voting, Natural disasters Accountability, Party support, Regime shift, Crisis response
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-271204 (URN)10.1016/j.electstud.2015.12.003 (DOI)000372692300012 ()
Projects
CNDS, PhD Dissertation
Available from: 2016-01-07 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2017-02-06Bibliographically approved
2. When Legitimacy Drowned: Waves of Blame in the 2006 Swedish Parliamentary Election
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When Legitimacy Drowned: Waves of Blame in the 2006 Swedish Parliamentary Election
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-314530 (URN)
Projects
Dissertation
Available from: 2017-02-03 Created: 2017-02-03 Last updated: 2017-02-03
3. Waves of Blame and Winds of Change: Challengers, Effective Representation and Electoral Accountability in Response to Parallel Crises
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Waves of Blame and Winds of Change: Challengers, Effective Representation and Electoral Accountability in Response to Parallel Crises
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-314532 (URN)
Available from: 2017-02-03 Created: 2017-02-03 Last updated: 2017-02-03

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