This paper describes the empirical evidence on partisan politics in OECD panel studies. I elaborate on the research designs, the measurement of government ideology and why the empirical studies do not and cannot derive causal effects. Discussing about 100 panel data studies, the results indicate that leftwing and rightwing governments pursued different economic policies until the 1990s: the size and scope of government was larger when leftwing governments were in power. Partisan politics have not disappeared since the 1990s, but have certainly become less pronounced. In particular, government ideology still seems to influence policies such as privatization and market deregulation. I discuss the consequences of declining electoral cohesion and what future research needs to explore.
partisan politics government ideology economic policy-making declining electoral cohesion panel data models causal effects