The austerity effect. Party activism in Europe during the Great Recession

Juan Rodríguez-Teruel, Patricia Correa, Oscar Barberà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article analyses the evolution of party membership and party activism in Europe in the last twenty years. Our aim is twofold. Firstly, we provide a new typology of different modes of affiliation in political parties. In line with Susan Scarrow’s multi-speed membership model, it advocates for a reconceptualisation of party activism disentangling it from formal membership. Based on ESS data, we observe that formal party membership decline is accompanied by stable or even increasing proportions of party activism, suggesting different trends of evolution for different modes of party affiliation. Secondly, we test the mobilising effect of the Great Recession on party activism in European democracies. Using panel-corrected standard error regressions, we find that those countries that implemented hard austerity policies experienced a significant increase of party activism during the years of bailout.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere197
JournalRevista Internacional de Sociología
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

©2021 CSIC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.


  • Membership
  • Grassroots
  • Activism
  • Participation
  • Party organisation
  • Economic effects


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