Family and Politics: Does Parental Unemployment Cause Right-Wing Extremism?

49 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2006

See all articles by Thomas Siedler

Thomas Siedler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences; DIW Berlin; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed a rise in right-wing extremism among German youth and young adults. This paper investigates the extent to which the experience of parental unemployment during childhood affects young people's far right-wing attitudes and xenophobia. Estimates from three different German data sets show a positive relationship between growing up with unemployed parents and right-wing extremism, with xenophobia in particular. This paper uses differences in unemployment levels between East and West Germany, both before and after reunification, to investigate a causal relationship. Instrumental variables estimates suggest strong and significant effects of parental unemployment on right-wing extremism. This is consistent with classical theories of economic interest and voting behaviour which predict that persons who develop feelings of economic insecurity are more susceptible to right-wing extremism and anti-foreign sentiments.

Keywords: right-wing extremism, unemployment, instrumental variable, intergenerational links, panel estimators, matching

JEL Classification: C23, D72, J6, P16

Suggested Citation

Siedler, Thomas, Family and Politics: Does Parental Unemployment Cause Right-Wing Extremism? (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2411. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944481

Thomas Siedler (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 9
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

DIW Berlin ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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