Decomposing the Rise of the Populist Radical Right

72 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2022 Last revised: 15 Nov 2022

See all articles by Oren Danieli

Oren Danieli

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics

Noam Gidron

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Political Science Department

Shinnosuke Kikuchi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ro'ee Levy

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics

Date Written: November 14, 2022

Abstract

Support for populist radical right parties in Europe has dramatically increased in the twenty-first century. We decompose the rise of the populist radical right between 2005 and 2020 into four components: changes in party positions, changes in voter attributes (demographics and opinions), changes in voters' priorities, and a residual. We merge two wide data sets on party positions and voter attributes and estimate voter priorities using a probabilistic voting model. Voter priorities determine the weights voters place on different party positions, given their attributes. We find that shifts in party positions and changes in voter attributes explain only a negligible part of the rise of populist radical right parties. The primary driver behind the success of these parties lies in voters' changing priorities. Particularly, voters are less likely to decide which party to support based on parties' economic positions. Instead, voters---mainly older, non-unionized, low-educated men---increasingly prioritize nationalist cultural issues. This allows populist radical right parties to tap into a pre-existing reservoir of culturally conservative voters.

Keywords: populism, decomposition, party positions, voter priorities, voting weights, radical right, salience

JEL Classification: P00, D7, O52

Suggested Citation

Danieli, Oren and Gidron, Noam and Kikuchi, Shinnosuke and Levy, Ro'ee, Decomposing the Rise of the Populist Radical Right (November 14, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4255937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4255937

Oren Danieli (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

Noam Gidron

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Political Science Department ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem
Israel

Shinnosuke Kikuchi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.shinnosuke-kikuchi.com/

Ro'ee Levy

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

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