Ethnic parties and the EPAC expert survey

Whether ethnonational parties behave moderately or radically in the competition for votes has a decisive impact on the stability of multi-national democracies. Researchers have long assumed that these parties are engaged in ethnic outbidding, in which the most radical representatives of the respective group interests ultimately retain the upper hand. In reality, however, competition between ethnic minority parties is, in the vast majority of cases, embedded in a broader system of interaction with non-ethnic parties. Christina's theory of "nested competition" models this interaction. She predicts that ethnic outbidding should only occur in fully ethnically segmented, but not in incompletely ethnically segmented party systems. In the latter, ethnic parties have incentives to moderate in order to compete with non-ethnic parties. Christina developed the ideas for the theory of embedded competition thanks to her field research in Serbia (April - June 2010), where she conducted interviews with elites of Hungarian and Bosniak minority parties.

To test the theory and gather data on the positioning of political parties on an ethnonational dimension of party competition, Edina Szöcsik (University of Fribourg) and Christina have been conducting an expert survey every six years since 2011. Our dataset on Ethnonationalism in Party Competition (EPAC) was compiled based on the collected expert assessments and includes the positions of over 200 political parties in 22 multinational European democracies in 2011, 2017, and, soon, 2023.

In this article, you can see how the EPAC data can be used. Edina and Christina use the data from 2011 and 2017 to analyze whether decentralization promotes secessionism of minority parties.

The EPAC 2011 and 2017 editions are available, and the survey for EPAC 2023 is currently underway. Click here to get access to the data!