Generally, my research applies advanced statistical methods to substantially important research questions with the aim of testing and refining theories of political socialization, political attitudes, and electoral choice. Thereby, I am mainly interested in how individuals form and retain these attitudes and identities over time and across different political systems. My research can be grouped into three broad themes.
1. Democratic transitioning: The legacy of authoritarian regimes on democratic attitudes
Neundorf (PhD thesis 2010): In my dissertation I investigated the individual-level responses to democratisation in post-socialist Europe, focusing on four different political attitudes, namely democratic satisfaction, partisanship, ideology, and religion. The single chapters have been published as journal articles.
Neundorf (published in Journal of Politics 2010): In this article I study the impact of being politically socialised in a socialist, non-democratic context on citizens' present attitudes towards democracy in Eastern Europe. I show that strong generational differences in regard to the adoption to democracy exist in post-socialist Europe. These results raise the question whether the Cold War generation -- as I call those that grew up during socialism -- will ever become true democrats.
Neundorf (published in German Politics 2009): Analysing the use and meaning of the left-right self-identification, this paper shows strong differences between East and West Germans that seem to associate different means with these ideological labels. This raises doubts about the usefulness of these labels as a mean of political communication.
Mueller/Neundorf (published in Social Forces 2012): The aim of this article is to present two different roles of the state affecting individuals' religiosity. First, we provide evidence for the effectiveness of socialist regimes in influencing citizens' opinions by comparing religious beliefs among several generations of Eastern Europeans. Second, the article explores whether the democratization process in Eastern Europe led to a revival of religiosity.
Neundorf/Sagarzazu (in progress): Extending the work presented in my JoP paper on Eastern Europe, this paper uses the data of the Latinbarometer (1995-2010) to test the effect of military regimes on democratic attitudes among different generations, some of which grew up under the influence of those regimes. We find that these authoritarian governments have a lasting negative effect on support of institutions, specially those closely linked to Dictatorship.
2. The origins of political attitudes: Socialization, age, and generations
Neundorf/Niemi (published in Electoral Studies 2014): This is a Paper Symposium that brings together scholars working on new methods in the field of political socialization and cohort analysis. Our editorial article introduces the main components and challenges of conducting age, period, cohort analysis. It also gives an overview of the topic in political science research.
Smets/Neundorf (published in Electoral Studies 2014): This paper is part of the Paper Symposium of APC analysis. We illustrate hierarchical APC models, using cross-classified models to estimate the variance among generations using US turnout as an example. We show that the level of politization of elections during the first 2-3 elections has a lasting (positive or negative) impact on the propensity to vote.
Neundorf/Smets/García-Albacete (published in Acta Politics 2013): In this article, we assess the relative importance of parental socialization and a person’s own life experiences in the development of political interest. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel, we find strong paretnal influences, while life-cycle events are not found to strongly affect the development of political interest during the formative years. However, the transition to adulthood is more critical for those individuals who did not acquire high levels of interest from their family.
Neundorf/Smets (published as Nuffield Politics Working Paper 2012): Using the theory of government-driven political socialization, we argue that partisan generational effects are influenced by the national government in power during a cohort’s impressionable young adult years.We assess this hypothesis in four established Western democracies characterized by a variety of party and electoral systems (Germany, the Netherlands, UK and the USA.
Neundorf/Niemi/Smets (published in Political Behavior): We hypothesize that civic education sparks levels of political engagement and participation especially among those young citizens who are not socialised at home. We support this hypothesis with data from the Belgian Political Panel Study (BPPS) 2006‐2011.
Neundorf/Soroka (under review): In this paper we are studying whether the right-ward shift of economic preferences in the British electorate can be explained by generational replacement. We compare the economic conditions during the socialization periods of all generations since World War I and test whether these varying contexts have had a lasting effect on whole generations' attitudes towards redistribution.
3. Stability and dynamics of political attitudes using household panel studies
Neundorf/Stegmueller/Scotto (published in Public Opinion Quarterly 2011, won SOEP Award): This paper investigates the nature and stability of individual-level party identification using the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Proposing a new methodological approach of mixed latent markov modelling, my colleagues and I present evidence that party identification is bounded and that a party's loss is not necessarily its rival's gain.
Neundorf/Adams (forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science): Using the SOEP, we investigate the reciprocal relationship between issue priorities and partisanship. We show that this relationship is strongest among supporters of the Green Party - a single-issue niche party. This confirms an exceptional role of niche parties in mainstream politics.
Evans/Neundorf (under review): In this paper we analyse the relationship between political values and partisanship in the British electorate using the British Household Panel Study (BHPS). We find that values are more prevalent and stable than partisanship and the cross-lagged estimates show a stronger impact of values on partisanship than the reverse.
Cavaille/Neundorf (published as NICEP working paper 2016): Focusing on one of the most research political attitudes - redistribution preferences - we show that economic policy attitudes are more stable than usually assumed by political economist. Using the BHPS we show that economic hardship does not alter redistribution preferences in a significant way.
Cavaille/Neundorf (published as ISER working paper 2016): Here we test the impact of immigration on support for universal health care in the UK. We test the hypothesis that an increase of ethnic minorities in a person's neighbourhood reduces support for the core value of universal access to the NHS in the UK. Using the BHPS and census data, we find support for this hyopthesis, especially among conservative respondents.
Stegmueller/Neundorf/Scotto (in progress): In this paper we show that over the 1991-2008 waves of the British Household Panel Survey the Labour Party appeared bereft of a core, stable constituency over the period where they won three consecutive mandates.
4. Other projects
Abney/Adams/Clark/Easton/Ezrow/Kosmidis/Neundorf (published in Party Politics 2013): We show that governing party elites' character-based valence attributes have heightened impact on mass support during election campaigns.
Neundorf (published in Politische Vierteljahresschrift 2011): This research investigates whether citizens make their electoral choices in line with their ideological position. I present support for a pluralization of the ideological labels left and right in unified Germany and how this affected voting. The longitudinal analysis shows relative constant global patterns of ideologically consistent electoral choices over time, but changing relationships at the level of single parties.
Electoral behaviour; political socialization; party identification; left-right dimension; public opinion; political psychology; post-socialist Europe; cross- national comparison; survey research.
Quantitative methods (measurement models, e.g. structural equation modelling and latent curve modelling, latent class analysis; finite mixture models; multilevel analysis; propensity score matching; micro panel data analysis; semi-parametric regression techniques).