Left/Right or U? Estimating the Dimensionality of National Party Competition in Europe
Comparative studies report the rise of left- and right-wing Eurosceptic parties that have transformed national party competition in Europe toward an inverted U-shaped configuration: peripheral parties at the left and right of the party spectrum oppose while centrist parties support several features of European integration. To describe the tempo and timing of this transformation and the heterogeneity across countries, we construct a Bayesian finite mixture factor analysis that estimates the election-specific probability of a one-dimensional left/right versus a two-dimensional inverted U-shaped national party configuration. The results show a general trend toward “U” but with significant variation across countries and time, including cases with a reversal of this trend.