Multi-level political change: Assessing electoral volatility in 58 European regions (1993-2022)


In recent years, increasing attention has been devoted to electoral turmoil associated with the emergence of new political actors or the crisis of established parties at national level. However, in multi-level systems, transformations have also affected sub-national politics. This article seeks to understand some hitherto unexplored aspects of political change in regional party systems. Change is linked to the concept of instability and operationalized in terms of electoral volatility. To account for the fact that instability may be driven by distinct regional and national pressures coexisting in regional elections, a new measure of volatility has been developed. It is disaggregated into two territorial components: ‘Region-specific volatility’ (RSV) and ‘Region-transcending volatility’ (RTV). RSV refers to changes in electoral support for political parties competing exclusively in one region, while RTV is calculated for parties that ‘transcend’ regional boundaries – i.e. they are electorally active in several/all regions of a country or are part of institutionalized inter-regional networks. By applying this new measure to 385 elections in 58 European regions, this article shows that levels and types of instability have varied significantly over time, across regions and across countries. This may also account for different developments in territorial politics observed in Western Europe.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Aston Centre for Europe
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Uncontrolled Keywords: change,instability,regional politics,territorial politics,volatility,Sociology and Political Science
Publication ISSN: 1460-3683
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 07:24
Date Deposited: 26 May 2023 13:16
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 540688231176052 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-05-15
Published Online Date: 2023-05-15
Accepted Date: 2023-04-27
Authors: Vampa, Davide (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5983-5422)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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