Crisis and Extremism. Can a Powerful Extreme Right Emerge in a Modern Democracy? Evidence From Greece’s Golden Dawn

33 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2018

See all articles by Costas Roumanias

Costas Roumanias

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies

Spyros Skouras

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies

Nikos Christodoulakis

Athens University of Economics and Business

Date Written: February 25, 2018

Abstract

By local and international standards, Golden Dawn (GD) is at the far end of Extreme Right, yet it has emerged as Greece's third largest party, gaining most of its electoral support within months in early 2012. Its electoral rise has been attributed to the severe economic crisis the country experienced since 2010. We investigate this remarkable case study econometrically, using both panel vote-share, and individual vote-intent regressions. Dramatic changes in parameters provide congruent evidence that GD's success was due to a change in voter behavior, rather than changes in individual characteristics or contextual conditions. Around one third of this change was due to GD's success in taking ownership of the previously ownerless niche issues of immigration and law-and-order; the remaining change is attributed to its success in attracting financially distressed voters and voters fitting a typical Extreme Right demographic. Auxiliary evidence suggests this change was driven by a massive realignment of voters fleeing mainstream parties, after a coalition government imposed harsh austerity measures.

Keywords: crisis, extreme right, issue ownership, structural change, immigration

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Roumanias, Costas and Skouras, Spyros and Christodoulakis, Nikos, Crisis and Extremism. Can a Powerful Extreme Right Emerge in a Modern Democracy? Evidence From Greece’s Golden Dawn (February 25, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3129587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3129587

Costas Roumanias (Contact Author)

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies ( email )

GR-10434 Athens
Greece

HOME PAGE: http://www.aueb.gr/users/roumanias

Spyros Skouras

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of International and European Economic Studies ( email )

GR-10434 Athens
Greece

Nikos Christodoulakis

Athens University of Economics and Business ( email )

76 Patission Street
Athens, 104 34
Greece

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