European award for USI study on the geography of political ideologies in Switzerland
Institutional Communication Service
Recent political events, such as the Brexit referendum in the UK or the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., have highlighted how the so-called "economic geography" of a country, defined by the conditions of local economies and regional differences in terms of economic well-being, is increasingly relevant in understanding the results of elections and voting.
This is one of many topics addressed by researchers in the field of regional sciences, such as Daniele Mantegazzi, assistant researcher at the USI Institute for Economic Research (IRE). At the recent annual conference of the European Regional Science Association (ERSA), held in the city of Cork in Ireland, Mantegazzi received the Epainos Award 2018, the prestigious European prize for young academics in the field of regional sciences, for his study entitled "The geography of political ideologies in Switzerland". This is the first time that the prize has been awarded to a Swiss researcher working at a university in Switzerland.
In his study, Mantegazzi analyses the Federal votes between 1981 and 2017 and identifies three dimensions along which three main political ideologies can be represented at the municipal level in Switzerland: right-left, liberal-conservative and ecological-technocratic. The aim of his work is to verify whether a concentration of certain political ideologies is observed in Switzerland at a geographical level, and to evaluate how this concentration evolves over time, also analysing whether these concentrations are correlated with different levels of income and degrees of inequality in the distribution of income.
The results of the study show the existence of concentrations of municipalities that share a similar political ideology, results that are particularly interesting as they emerge from an analysis that considers the long-term structure of political ideologies, independent of short-term factors, typically linked to candidates and political parties. The conclusions of this research support the growing number of studies that show that economic geography is important for understanding political behavior. In line with other analyses around the world, the geographical distribution of political ideologies seems to be a clear manifestation of the divisions between urban and rural areas. Moreover, the temporal evolution of these divisions indicates that Switzerland is characterized by a phenomenon of increasing polarization.
Daniele Mantegazzi, born in 1988, received his Bachelor's degree in Economics at USI in 2011, then completing his studies with a Master's degree in International Monetary Economics at the University of Bern. In August 2018, he defended his doctoral thesis in Economics at USI, where he now holds a position as assistant-researcher.
Information on the Epainos Award and on ERSA at: http://ersa.org/awards-prizes/epainos-awards