Sara B. Hobolt

Sara B. Hobolt
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Department of Government

BA, MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab), FBA

About

148
Publications
62,239
Reads
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Introduction
Professor Sara B. Hobolt currently holds the Sutherland Chair in European Institutions at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the European Union, Public Opinion, Parties, Voting Behavior and Comparative Politics. She is the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded project 'EUDEMOS: Constrained Democracy.' She is also Chair of the European Election Studies. See her website for more information: http://hobolt.com
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • Sutherland Chair in European Institutions
August 2005 - December 2011
University of Oxford
Position
  • University Lecturer in European Politics
August 2004 - August 2005
University of Michigan
Position
  • National Election Studies Fellow

Publications

Publications (148)
Article
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How do governments ensure public compliance with protective policies that restrict individual liberties during a crisis? In this article, the British public’s reaction to mask mandates during the Covid-19 pandemic is examined. We argue that providing information about health risks makes people more willing to comply and that the effectiveness of th...
Article
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How do votes in direct democratic ballots translate into policy preferences about future outcomes and affect the perceived legitimacy of those outcomes? This article examines these questions in the context of sovereignty referendums: specifically, the 2016 referendum on British membership of the European Union (EU). While the referendum result gave...
Article
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What are the effects on public support for the European Union (EU) when a member state exits? We examine this question in the context of Britain's momentous decision to leave the EU. Combining analyses of the European Election Study 2019 and a unique survey-embedded experiment conducted in all member states, we analyse the effect of Brexit on suppo...
Article
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Research has shown that emotions matter in politics, but we know less about when and why politicians use emotive rhetoric in the legislative arena. This article argues that emotive rhetoric is one of the tools politicians can use strategically to appeal to voters. Consequently, we expect that legislators are more likely to use emotive rhetoric in d...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic is an unparalleled global crisis. Yet, despite the grave adversity faced by citizens, incumbents around the world experienced a boost in popularity during the onset of the outbreak. In this study, we examine how the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in one country affected incumbent support in other countries. Specifically, we...
Article
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Are those who support the core values of liberal democracy also more likely to support the European Union? In this article, we study the relationship between EU support and support for the principles of liberal democracy among citizens in the 28 EU member states, using data from the European Election Studies 2019. Our findings demonstrate that supp...
Book
An accessible introduction to European politics using a coherent comparative and analytical framework. It presents students with the basic theoretical and empirical toolkit of social scientific researchers, and explains how an analytic approach can be used to understand both domestic and EU-level policy-making in Europe. It draws on cutting edge re...
Article
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Partisanship is a powerful driver of economic perceptions. Yet we know less about whether other political divisions may lead to similar evaluative biases. In this paper, we explore how the salient divide between “Remainers” and “Leavers” in the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum has given rise to biased economic perceptions. In line with...
Article
Citizen satisfaction with democracy is greater when parties offer choices that are congruent with voter preferences. But are citizens content with simply having a party that represents their views or does their satisfaction depend on whether that party can also be instrumental in implementing policies? We argue that instrumentality moderates the ef...
Preprint
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A defining feature of liberal democracy is the respect for and protection of core civil liberties. Yet, major crises, such as wars, natural disasters and pandemics, can provide a pretext to undermine liberal democratic norms. This raises questions of whether citizens are willing to support policies that violate their civil liberties in a crisis and...
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International institutions are increasingly being challenged by domestic opposition and nationalist political forces. Yet, levels of politicization differ significantly across countries facing the same international authority as well as within countries over time. This raises the question of when and why the mass public poses a challenge to interna...
Article
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The recent rise of populist parties across Europe has attracted much attention. But is this a new phenomenon? In this article, we argue that populist parties can be seen as a type of challenger parties, that is, political entrepreneurs without government experience seeking to disrupt the dominance of mainstream parties. We discuss how ongoing chang...
Book
Challenger parties are on the rise in Europe, exemplified by the likes of Podemos in Spain, the National Rally in France, the Alternative for Germany, or the Brexit Party in Great Britain. Like disruptive entrepreneurs, these parties offer new policies and defy the dominance of established party brands. In the face of these challenges and a more vo...
Chapter
This chapter outlines a theory of political change. This theory conceives of party competition as a constant struggle between dominant parties, the key players on the political market trying to defend their market power, and challenger parties, acting as disruptive political entrepreneurs trying to challenge this dominance through innovation. The c...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on voter loyalty, looking at the barriers to entry that challenger parties face, most notably the strength of party attachments to dominant parties. First, it explores the development of party membership, which is the most formal expression of an attachment to a party. Second, it considers subjective measures of party attachmen...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the main arguments and findings of the book by defining two key principles that guide political change in Europe. These two principles are the principle of contestability and the principle of appropriability. The principle of contestability focuses on the likelihood that a party can gain a larger share of the political marke...
Chapter
This chapter examines the strategies employed by dominant parties to secure their long-term electoral success and control of office. The first of the dominant-party strategies is that of distinctive convergence, whereby dominant parties take positions closer to the center ground in order to appeal to the tastes of a larger share of the electorate....
Chapter
This chapter evaluates issue entrepreneurship, an innovation strategy through which political parties mobilize a new or previously ignored issue. Political parties will engage in issue entrepreneurship when the electoral gains of doing so outweigh the costs. Challenger parties are more likely to act as issue entrepreneurs than dominant parties beca...
Chapter
This chapter assesses whether the innovation strategies of challenger parties are successful in terms of extending their voter base and generating more votes. Challenger parties innovate by mobilizing high appropriability issues that are difficult to handle for dominant parties because they risk splitting their rank and file. Challenger parties als...
Book
Challenger parties are on the rise in Europe, exemplified by the likes of Podemos in Spain, the National Rally in France, the Alternative for Germany, or the Brexit Party in Great Britain. Like disruptive entrepreneurs, these parties offer new policies and defy the dominance of established party brands. In the face of these challenges and a more vo...
Chapter
This chapter studies antiestablishment rhetoric. Antiestablishment rhetoric is not only used by many political entrepreneurs to paint themselves as outsiders, but is also a core feature of populism. Populist parties aim to distinguish themselves from the political mainstream not only by advocating anti-immigration or anti-EU stances, but also by at...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the rise of challenger parties. Challenger parties are those parties that have not yet held the reins of power: the parties without government experience. There are three main ways of distinguishing between challengers and mainstream parties in the existing literature. One focuses on the historical origins of the parties, ano...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the impact of the rise of challenger parties on both representation and responsible government. It begins by examining whether voters are more mobilized and feel more represented in systems with greater choice and more challenger parties. The chapter also looks at how the rise of a new challenger, the Alternative for Germany...
Article
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Decision-making in the Council of the European Union appears highly consensual at the voting stage. However, we focus on Council deliberations, where we find higher levels of contestation. What drives government opposition in the Council? Using a novel approach of studying the Council through video footage of its public deliberations (DICEU – Debat...
Article
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A well-functioning democracy requires a degree of mutual respect and a willingness to talk across political divides. Yet numerous studies have shown that many electorates are polarized along partisan lines, with animosity towards the partisan out-group. In this article, we further develop the idea of affective polarization, not by partisanship, but...
Article
As political competition is becoming increasingly multi-dimensional in Europe, voters often face the challenge of choosing which issues matter most to them. The European integration issue presents a particular difficulty for voters, since it is not closely aligned to the left-right dimension. We test the impact of the EU issue in the first parliame...
Article
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How do the range of issues voters care about and party system polarization impact democratic outcomes? Recent debates have focused on the negative effect of polarized systems on democratic quality. However, the extent to which this polarization is channeled or diffused over a wide range of issues on the public agenda has not been analyzed systemati...
Article
Is the contemporary global order under threat? This contribution weighs the case for and against the notion that we are witnessing an existential challenge to the contemporary global order. We show that there are grounds for optimism with respect to the endurance of the first two ordering principles of the contemporary global order: a state-led glo...
Article
Conjoint analysis is a common tool for studying political preferences. The method disentangles patterns in respondents’ favorability toward complex, multidimensional objects, such as candidates or policies. Most conjoints rely upon a fully randomized design to generate average marginal component effects (AMCEs). They measure the degree to which a g...
Article
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Political choice is central to citizens’ participation in elections. Nonetheless, little is known about the individual‐level mechanisms that link political choice and turnout. It is argued in this article that turnout decisions are shaped not only by the differences between the parties (party polarisation), but also by the closeness of parties to c...
Article
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Political choice is central to citizens' participation in elections. Nonetheless, we know little about the individual-level mechanisms that link political choice and turnout. In the paper, we argue that turnout decisions are shaped not only by the differences between the parties (party polarization), but also by the closeness of parties to citizens...
Article
Full-text available
Conjoint analysis is a common tool for studying political preferences. The method disentangles patterns in respondents' favorability toward complex, multidimensional objects, such as candidates or policies. Most conjoints rely upon a fully randomized design to generate average marginal component effects (AMCEs). These measure the degree to which a...
Article
Full-text available
The Council of the European Union is the European Union’s most powerful legislative body. Yet, we still have limited information about Council politics because of the lack of suitable data. This paper validates a new approach to studying Council politics entitled DICEU – Debates in the Council of the European Union. This approach is the first to le...
Article
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When do parties use emotive rhetoric to appeal to voters? In this article, we argue that politicians are more likely to employ positive affect (valence) in their rhetoric to appeal to voters when parties are not ideologically distinct and when there is uncertainty about public preferences. To test these propositions, our paper uses well-established...
Article
The link between individual perceptions of the economy and vote choice is fundamental to electoral accountability. Yet, while it is well-established that economic perceptions are correlated with voting behaviour, it is unclear whether these perceptions are rooted in the real economy or whether they simply reflect voters’ partisan biases. This artic...
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In this paper we revisit the often disregarded ‘pocketbook voting’ thesis that suggests that people evaluate governments based on the state of their own finances. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey over the last 20 years, we measure changes in personal financial circumstances and show that the ‘pocketbook voting’ model works. Crucia...
Article
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What motivates politicians to engage in legislative activities? In multilevel systems politicians may be incentivized by ambitions to advance their careers either at the state or federal level. This article argues that the design of the electoral institutions influences how politicians respond to these incentives. Analyzing a unique dataset of both...
Article
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The outcome of the British referendum on EU membership sent shockwaves through Europe. While Britain is an outlier when it comes to the strength of Euroscepticism, the anti-immigration and anti-establishment sentiments that produced the referendum outcome are gaining strength across Europe. Analysing campaign and survey data, this article shows tha...
Article
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The Eurozone crisis has altered the party political landscape across Europe. The most visible effect is the rise of challenger parties. The crisis not only caused economic hardship, but also placed considerable fiscal constraints upon a number of national governments. Many voters have reacted to this by turning their back on the traditional parties...
Article
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Public opinion is increasingly at the heart of both political and scholarly debates on European integration. This essay reviews the large literature on public support for, and opposition to, European integration, focusing on conceptualization, causes and consequences: What is public support for European integration? How can we explain variation in...
Article
The 2014 European Parliament elections were held against the backdrop of the worst economic crisis in post-war Europe. The elections saw an unprecedented surge in support for Eurosceptic parties. This raises the question of whether the crisis, and the EU's response to it, can explain the rise of Eurosceptic parties. Our analysis of the 2014 Europea...
Chapter
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This chapter evaluates the quality of the democratic mandate provided by citizens to European policymakers by examining two paths of representation: a direct path through the vote for representatives in the European Parliament and an indirect path through the vote for national parliamentarians, and in turn, national governments represented in the c...
Chapter
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Why has turnout in European Parliament elections remained so low, despite attempts to expand the parliament's powers? One possible answer is that because little is at stake in these second-order elections only those with an established habit of voting, acquired in previous national elections, can be counted on to vote. Others argue that low turnout...
Article
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Are governments responsive to public preferences when legislating in international organizations? This paper demonstrates that governments respond to domestic public opinion even when acting at the international level. Specifically, we examine conflict in the European Union’s primary legislative body, the Council of the European Union (EU). We argu...
Article
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Assessing and Maximizing the Impact of the Social Sciences: A British Perspective - Volume 48 Issue S1 - Sara B. Hobolt
Article
How do issues enter the political arena and come to affect party competition? This study extends the literature on issue evolution from the U.S. context to multiparty systems. While traditional models assume opposition parties to be the agents of issue evolution, this study argues that within multiparty competition not all parties in opposition hav...
Article
There is an extensive literature on the relative virtues of different electoral systems in producing more responsive and effective governments, but far less attention has been paid to role of dynamic factors. This article examines how government minority/majority status and popularity shape the trade-off between government responsiveness and effect...
Article
The 2014 European Parliament elections were the first elections where the major political groups each nominated a lead candidate (Spitzenkandidat) for the Commission presidency in the hope that this would increase the visibility of the elections and mobilize more citizens to turn out. Using data from the 2014 European Elections Study, an EU-wide po...
Article
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Finding reliable and valid positions for political actors is of key importance to political scientists. In this paper we compare estimates obtained using the automated Wordscores and Wordfish techniques with estimates from the widely-used Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) as well as voter and expert placements. We estimate the positions of 254 ma...
Article
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Further integration in the European Union (EU) increasingly depends on public legitimacy. The global financial crisis and the subsequent euro area crisis have amplified both the salience and the redistributive consequences of decisions taken in Brussels, raising the question of how this has influenced public support for European integration. In thi...
Article
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Democratic accountability requires that citizens can assign responsibility for policy outcomes, yet multilevel structures of government complicate this task as they blur lines of accountability and leave voters uncertain about which level of government is responsible. This study examines the extent to which Europeans are able to navigate the comple...
Article
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The European Parliament promised voters that the 2014 elections would be different. According to its interpretation of the Lisbon Treaty, a vote in these European elections would also be a vote for the President of the Europe's executive, the Commission. To reinforce this link between the European elections and the Commission President, the major p...
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This study examines the extent to which opposition parties engage in wedge-issue competition. The literature on wedge-issue competition has exclusively focused on the two-party system in the United States, arguing that wedge issues are the domain of opposition parties. This study argues that within multiparty systems opposition status is a necessar...
Article
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Proponents of the European project often portray further enlargement of the European Union as a complement to the process of building an ever closer union. The eurozone crisis, however, has highlighted the risks associated with pursuing deeper integration in a diverse union and reignited the debate on differentiated integration. This contribution e...
Article
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As an emerging federal system, the European Union (EU) divides decision-making powers between multiple levels of government. Yet little is known about how EU citizens attribute responsibility to the EU. In particular, do people hold the EU, rather than national governments, responsible for different policy outcomes, some of which are primarily deci...
Book
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A key component of democratic accountability is that citizens understand 'who is to blame'. Nonetheless, little is known about how citizens attribute responsibility in the European Union or how those perceptions of responsibility matter. This book presents the first comprehensive account of how citizens assign blame to the EU, how politicians and t...
Article
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This study addresses the dynamics of the issue space in multiparty systems by examining to what extent, and under what conditions, parties respond to the issue ownership of other parties on the green issue. To understand why some issues become part and parcel of the political agenda in multiparty systems, it is crucial not only to examine the strat...
Article
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Why do certain ministers remain in their post for years while others have their time in office cut short? Drawing on the broader literature on portfolio allocation, this article argues that the saliency of individual portfolios shapes ministerial turnover. The main argument is that ministerial dismissals are less likely to occur the higher the sali...