February 9, 2024
Written by WID.world

Beyond class conflicts: Exploring recent trends in world political cleavages

Why has growing inequality in many parts of the world not led to renewed class-based conflicts, and seems instead to have come with the emergence of new divides over identity and integration?

Continuing to build the World Political Cleavages and Inequality Database (WPID), Andrew Lonsdale’s paper contributes to the growing research on sociodemographic inequalities and political transformations in contemporary democratic societies. The focus is threefold:

  1. Updating the WPID for 18 countries with newly available electoral surveys, documenting how political cleavages have progressed in recent years while discussing potential drivers of these findings.
  2. Looking specifically at the sociodemographic origins of nativist parties across a number of Latin American, Eastern European, and Western countries in recent decades, identifying patterns in support for these movements and considering plausible economic drivers of their emergence.
  3. Undertaking a study of “vote switchers” both to nativist movements and to electoral abstention, investigating how levels of party polarization over redistributive policy issues may relate to the party origins of these phenomena.

Key findings:

  • Progression away from class-oriented political conflict continues in Western countries, with more context-dependent evolutions in non-Western settings.
  • Economic drivers are of paramount importance for explaining common trends in the evolution of modern political competition.



  • Andrew Lonsdale, London School of Economics



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