Revisiting Party System Structuration in Latin America and Europe: Economic and Socio-cultural Dimensions

Published in Party Politics, 2023

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[With Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo, Jonathan Hartlyn, Ryan Bakker, Liesbet Hooghe, and Gary Marks]

Abstract: The degree to which party systems are ideologically and programmatically structured is central to democracy. This article analyzes differences in the extent and nature of programmatic structuration in Latin America and Europe, using a new original data source, the Chapel Hill Expert Survey-Latin America (CHES-LA), in combination with the long-standing CHES-Europe. First, we demonstrate the reliability of CHES-LA in relation to CHES-Europe, and substantiate its validity by comparing it to other expert, elite and party manifesto surveys in Latin America. Using confirmatory factor analysis, we then show that while party system structuration in Latin America is somewhat lower than in Europe, it is also of a decisively different nature. In Latin America economic and socio-cultural policy positions are largely captured in a single overlapping dimension; in Europe, by contrast, competition occurs overwhelmingly along two dimensions, each with distinct clusters of policy positions.