Is Germany Going Bananas? Life Cycle and Cohort Effects on Party Performance in Germany from 1953 to 2049. | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Corina Wagner, Laura Konzelmann, Hans Rattinger
Is Germany Going Bananas? Life Cycle and Cohort Effects on Party Performance in Germany from 1953 to 2049.

German Politics, 2012: 21, Heft 3, S. 274-295

In the public debate concerning the consequences of demographic change in Germany it is often argued that the rising share of older voters will help the CDU/CSU to consolidate its power. This argumentation only applies if the age effect is assumed to be dominant. However, diverse socialisation backgrounds, captured by the cohort effect, also have to be taken into account. Based on the Repräsentative Wahlstatistik (Representative Electoral Statistic, RES) and Population Forecasts, the consequences of demographic shifts for federal elections since 1953 are estimated, as well as for future elections. First, age, cohort and period effects on vote choice for previous elections are calculated by using cohort analysis. Second, these effects are applied to the future age distribution. The results show that the ‘greying’ electorate is expected to favour the CDU/CSU and the FDP, while especially the SPD is likely to suffer electoral losses due to demographic shifts.