Similarity in husbands and wives party family preference in the Netherlands

Hilde Coffé, Ariana Need

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Using insights from theories on marital homogamy and political behaviour, this research examines the tendency of husbands and wives to vote for the same party family. It disentangles the extent to which similarity in party family preference can be explained by (1) partners choosing one another because of their shared socio-economic position and (2) partners influencing one another. For this purpose, we conducted probit regression models with instrumental variables using data from the 2000 and 2003 Dutch Family Survey. Using instrumental variables to analyze endogenous relationships, we found that Dutch partners tend to support parties belonging to the same party family (left, confessional or right). There is some support for the idea that similarity in preference for a leftist and confessional party is – at least partly – a by-product of ‘self-selection’, i.e. the preference for a partner who is similar in socio-economic characteristics to oneself. As regards rightist voting, there does not seem to be an effect of similarity in socio-economic characteristics. Similarity in preference for a rightist party rather seems to be uniquely the result of mutual influence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-268
JournalElectoral studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Political influence
  • Marital homogamy
  • Party preference
  • Party family preference
  • METIS-268337
  • IR-76868


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