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
Date Written: February 25, 2018
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
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