Thatchers Children: The Long Shadow? Maria Grasso*, Stephen Farrall+, Emily Gray+, Colin Hay*, Will Jennings^ *Department of Politics, University of Sheffield +School of Law, University of Sheffield ^Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Southampton
PSA 30 March-1 April, 2015 Outline
Previous research Hypotheses Data Methods Variables Analysis Conclusions Previous Research
First studies analysing extent to which electorate had become Thatcherite emerged when Thatcher was still in office (e.g. Crewe 1988, 1989): evidence largely suggested no change Later studies started to challenge this account and begun to speak of a Thatcher Effect (e.g. Russell et al. 1992) and showed younger cohorts
entering electorate during her time in Previous Research Modernisation theory (Inglehart 1977, 1990) suggests that each younger cohort should be more liberal than previous cothorts However, Curtice (2009) argues that the Thatcherite project was actually completed by Blair; there is a lot of
evidence on the influence of Thatcherite values on New Labour (e.g. Hay 1996, Heffernan 2000) For many, New Labour was simply Research Questions To what extent is Thatchers legacy reflected in a slowing down or reversal of the trend towards greater modernisation amongst younger
cohorts? Are Thatchers Children more rightwing and authoritarian than previous cohorts? We also examine the reproduction of Thatcherite values: Do patterns continue or reverse for Blairs Babies Hypotheses H1: The generation coming of age during Thatchers/Majors
governments will be more strongly right-wing and authoritarian than both generations coming of age before and after them (Thatchers Children) H2: The generation coming of age during New Labour governments will be more strongly right wing and authoritarian than generations coming Data
British Social Attitudes 1985-2012 Merged dataset was compiled by Emily, Will, Steve and Colin in the context of the ESRC project Long-term Trajectories of Crime in the UK (see Jennings et al 2015) Long time series of data spanning social attitudinal data ideal for capturing long term trends and social change e.g. inter-generational
replacement Methods The method for age-period-cohort analysis is discussed in detail in Grasso (2014) in Electoral Studies Categorisation of political generations based on historical period of socialisation Application of generalised additive
models (GAMs) to solve the identification problem and plot smoothed cohort effect Variables Examine nine dependent variables; three on each of three dimensions (PCA results): redistribution and inequality, benefits and unemployment, punishment and
authority Age-period-cohort models: political generations, age groups, survey year Controls: gender, education, marital status, employment status, income, private education, home ownership, Analysis Analysis
Analysis Analysis Analysis Conclusions Evidence in favour of both Thatchers Children and particularly, Blairs
Babies/Thatchers Grand-Children. The socialisation of Thatchers Children took place when Thatcherism remained politically contested. Effect is even stronger for Thatchers GrandChildren since by then socialisation was taking place when Thatcherism was no longer politically contested since New Labour had internalised
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