Matthias Mader, Nils D. Steiner, Harald Schoen
The globalisation divide in the public mind: belief systems on globalisation and their electoral consequences

Journal of European Public Policy, 2020: 27, Heft 10, S. 1526-1545
ISSN: 1350-1763 (print), 1466-4429 (online)

Many studies describe how globalisation—the global integration of the economic, political, and cultural domains of society—transforms party competition in Western Europe. At the citizen level, however, our knowledge about globalisation attitudes and their electoral consequences remains limited. Using data from a large-scale panel survey of the German public, we show that, first, citizens hold stable rather than fluid attitudes towards the concept of globalisation. Second, these attitudes are rather closely related to positions on specific economic, cultural, and political issues that social scientists understand as facets of globalisation but unrelated to positions on traditional redistribution issues. Third, attitudes towards globalisation are systematically associated with voting decisions even when controlling for specific issue attitudes. We conclude that individuals hold integrated belief systems concerning globalisation and that globalisation matters as a contentious political symbol. We discuss the implications of these findings for the politics of globalisation in Germany and beyond.