Xenophobia and Distribution in France: A Politico-Economic Analysis

76 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2004

See all articles by John E. Roemer

John E. Roemer

Yale University - Department of Political Science; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Karen Van der Straeten

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris

Date Written: August 2004


Anti-immigrant feeling (xenophobia) among voters has been proposed as a key factor explaining why, in the 2002 French national election, Jean Le Pen's National Front Party won second place. Here, we study the effect of anti-immigrant sentiments among voters on the equilibrium position of political parties on the economic issue, which we take to be the size of the public sector. We model political competition among three parties (Left, Right, and Extreme Right) on a two-dimensional policy space (public sector size, immigration issue) using the PUNE model. We calibrate the model to French data for the election years 1988 and 2002, and show that politics have changed significantly over this period, from being centered primarily on economic issues to being centered on non-economic issues such as the immigration and security/law and order. We estimate that in 2002, the effect of voter xenophobia was to reduce the voters' choice of public-sector size between 7% and 51% of one standard deviation of the population's distribution of public-sector size ideal points, from what it would have been, absent xenophobia.

Keywords: Xenophobia, Racism, Distribution, Political equilibrium

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Roemer, John E. and Van der Straeten, Karen, Xenophobia and Distribution in France: A Politico-Economic Analysis (August 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=585761

John E. Roemer (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5249 (Phone)
203-432-6196 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jer39/

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Karen Van der Straeten

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris ( email )

1 rue Descartes
Paris, 75005

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