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Exclusive Solidarity? Radical Right Parties and the Welfare State

39 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2014  

Zoe Lefkofridi

University of Salzburg - Department of Political Science; European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS)

Elie Michel

European University Institute - Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS)

Date Written: December 2014

Abstract

Radical right parties in Western Europe have traditionally shown little support for redistributive policies and have thus been typically classified as economically right wing. Yet, they are contesting the votes of a (formerly) key electorate of the social democratic parties: the working class, who supports welfare redistribution. In this study, we argue and empirically demonstrate that radical right parties have adapted their programmatic preferences to this key segment of electorate by progressively promoting redistributive policies. For our analyses we use mixed methods and rely on a combination of data sources. Firstly, we assess the salience of welfare issues in the manifestos of major West European radical right parties over the last three decades based on CMP data. Secondly, we examine their positions on welfare issues based on recent euandi data. Thirdly, we analyse the most recent manifestos of two successful radical right parties (Austrian FPÖ and French FN) qualitatively. Our findings show that for a majority of radical right parties welfare state expansion has become a salient issue, and that they do not position themselves anymore on the right regarding redistributive issues; however, these parties promote a specific kind of solidarity: exclusive solidarity.

Keywords: Political Parties, Radical Right, Welfare politics, Solidarity

Suggested Citation

Lefkofridi, Zoe and Michel, Elie, Exclusive Solidarity? Radical Right Parties and the Welfare State (December 2014). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. 2014/120. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2539503 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2539503

Zoe Lefkofridi (Contact Author)

University of Salzburg - Department of Political Science ( email )

Rudolfskai 42
Salzburg, A-5020
Austria

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

Elie Michel

European University Institute - Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) ( email )

Via dei Roccettini 9
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, 50014
Italy

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