My research lies at the intersection of comparative politics —party competition, voting behaviour, democracy and representation-, political economy -labor markets, welfare, and financial crises-, and political sociology —social class, political attitudes, and political conflict.

In particular, I am interested in the political translation of the socioeconomic transformations that globalisation has brought about in advanced capitalist societies in the last decades. Amongst other things, I have studied the emergence of new parties, economic and political grievances, and the structure and transformation of political conflict. I combine both quantitative and qualitative methods eclectically.

Here you can find my current/past academic research projects (click to expand) and my work-in-progress:

Research Projects:

PhD Thesis: The Political Consequences of the Great Recession in Southern Europe.

The Great Recession constituted a breaking point in several aspects of the cultural, economic and political life of southern European countries (i.e. Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain). This dissertation aims to shed light on the political consequences of the economic crisis in this region -with a specific focus on Spain as a paradigmatic case- by analysing different aspects of the political transformations that took place during the period of crisis. The underlying argument is that, albeit some relevant differences, the four countries experienced a common pattern: the incapacity of national politics to offer differentiated recipes to the deteriorating economic situation triggered a widespread crisis of representation that introduced new issues in the political agenda and drove the political transformations in these countries. The combination of a political and economic crisis at the national and European levels opened new political spaces that new parties capitalised by appealing to the need for democratic renewal and opposition to austerity politics. Furthermore, as illustrated by the Spanish case, and in particular the Catalan experience, the political crisis had far-reaching consequences beyond economic grievances, leading to the activation of different types of conflicts. Overall, the findings suggest that the transformations in the structure of political conflict in southern Europe in the aftermath of the Great Recession are not the by-product of a growing cultural divide -as is the case in several other continental and north-European countries-, but instead respond to the loss of credibility in the political system. Methodologically, the dissertation relies on an original dataset of media content as well as on several sources of survey data to test the empirical validity of the claims.

DFG-Project: European elections and political structuring. A comparative analysis.
Project Website.

The project analyzes the relationship between the electoral connection of citizens and parties and the structuring of political conflict in European elections. It aims at examining whether European elections have an independent structuring effect on political conflict and whether this effect has intensified in line with the increasing competencies of the European Parliament. The project assumes that European elections only have a mobilizing and legitimizing power the programmatic offers of political parties, the public debate over political conflicts in election campaigns, and voter preferences are tightly connected and linked to salient European issues. This presupposes that elections can structure political conflicts and channel them into the political system of the EU.

The project is based on a dynamic concept of political conflict structuring. This concept conceptualizes the relationship between citizens preferences and the programmatic offers by political parties as strategic interaction. The concept emphasizes the role of political organizations, political parties in particular, which articulate and mobilize political conflicts, the strategies these parties utilize, and the electoral contexts, in which they operate.

The project includes an extensive quantitative empirical research program consisting of three separate steps of analysis. First, the project examines the electoral connection in elections to the European Parliament, i.e. the relationship between the programmatic offers of political parties in their manifestos for European elections, the public controversies over European issues in European election campaigns, and the voter preferences as articulated in public opinion polls. Second, the structuring of political conflict in European elections and the relationship between the electoral connection of citizens and parties and the structuring of political conflict will be analyzed. Third, key factors responsible for the intensity of political conflict structuring (such as: intra-party conflict, public opinion and the strength of new eurosceptic challengers) will be investigated.

The project will use four sets of empirical data: (a) new data on European election campaigns collected by a core sentence based quantitative content analysis of daily newspapers; (b) existing data from previous projects on national election campaigns and integration debates; © data from the Euromanifesto project on European election manifestos; (d) survey data on voter preferences and public opinion. The study will be based on a comparative analysis of five EU member states: Germany, France, UK, Austria, and Sweden; and it will cover a period from 1994 to 2014 including five elections to the European Parliament (1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014).

The project is financed by the German Research Council (DFG).

ERC-Project: Political Conflict in Europe in the Shadow of the Great Recession.
Project Website.

The ERC research program POLCON assesses the contemporary development of European democracies and the politicization of the European integration process in the shadow of the Great Recession which started with the breakdown of Lehman Brothers in Autumn 2008 and is still ongoing. To grasp the political consequences of the economic crisis, the project proposes a combination of a comparative-static analysis of thirty European countries and a dynamic analysis of political conflict in a selected number of cases. It intends to link the study of elections to the study of political protest, covering Western, Southern, as well as Central and Eastern European countries.

This project proposes to study the structuration of political conflict in Europe, based on the analysis of political contestation in the electoral arena, the protest arena, and in issue specific public interactions. Since few studies worked on the interactions between elections and political protest, we focus on the interactions between these two political arenas and the actors respectively involved in each. The key question is whether the Great Recession and its consequences are changing the long-term trends in the development of political conflict in Europe as they have been previously assessed. In order to answer this overarching research question, the project will be based on survey data and on an original content analysis of protest events, election campaigns, and issue-specific public contestation across territorial levels and political arenas.

Work-in-Progress:

  • Diego Muro, Guillem Vidal, and Martijn Vlaskampf (under review). Does the Prospect of International Recognition Matter for Support for Secession: A Survey Experiment in Catalonia and Scotland.
  • Guillem Vidal and Carlos J. Gil (2019). Social Clas and Vote in Spain.
  • Jorge Galindo and Guillem Vidal (2019). Dualism, Risk, and the Populist Radical Right.
  • Berta Barbet, Antoni-Ítalo De Moragas, and Guillem Vidal (2018). What the fact? An experiment on the political persuasiveness of experts’ advices. See first results. Project financed by Polexp.