Risks, Costs and Labour Markets: Explaining Cross-National Patterns of Far Right Party Success in European Parliament Elections
Journal of Common Market Studies. (2015) ISSN 1468-5965 doi: 10.1111/jcms.12310
53 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2016
Date Written: October 12, 2015
What is the impact of the economy on cross national variation in far right-wing party support? This paper tests several hypotheses from existing literature on the results of the last three EP elections in all EU member states. We conceptualise the economy affects support because unemployment heightens the risks and costs that the population faces, but this is crucially mediated by labour market institutions. Findings from multiple regression analyses indicate that unemployment, real GDP growth, debt and deficits have no statistically significant effect on far right-wing party support at the national level. By contrast, labour markets influence costs and risks: where unemployment benefits and dismissal regulations are high, unemployment has no effect, but where either one of them is low, unemployment leads to higher far right-wing party support. This explains why unemployment has not led to far right-wing party support in some European countries that experienced the 2008 Eurozone crisis.
Keywords: European Parliament, Far right parties, Labour market institutions, Economic crisis, Welfare state, Immigration
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