Time to Grow Up

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Age has become a concept at the forefront of political contestation in the Netherlands in the last years. From instability of the pensions to rising health costs, it seems that the younger and older generation have opposites interests that are difficult to satisfy with a limited governmental budget. This thesis aims to understand to what extent this clash of interests has become an age cleavage within the Netherlands by using the rational choice, social identity, and cultural approach. Using mixed methods (content analysis and OLS regression) the analysis focuses on the supply (political parties) and demand (voters) side. The content analysis shows that the political parties indeed have a focus on age and have clear preferences for the younger or the older generation. On top of that, the focus of age within these party programs seem to cross ideology and economic preferences, giving a complete new dimension on how to rank political parties. The OLS regression shows unclear results. The relationship between age and voting behavior seems to be flipped the other way around than predicted, which means that younger people tend to vote for elderly favoring parties. It also does not seem to show significant results. On top of that, it is unclear if the rational choice and social identity approaches can be corroborated. There does seem to be corroboration for the cultural approach.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen