Across the post-communist region, new parties are gaining support from voters by promising to reject the status quo and orthodox policy. Some have come to govern on the basis of such promises and their “outsider” identity. But do these new parties actually make different post-crisis policy once they are in government? This paper compares policies adopted to address economic crisis in Bulgaria and Romania. Both governments pursue a standard set of austerity measures, but the Bulgarian government was able to take a more aggressive stance for a much longer time before losing support due to its outsider image.

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