36 Seiten, Note: 1st
2. Literature Review and Research Design
2.2. Literature Review
2.3. Research Design
3. Sweden Case Study
3.2. Empirical Material
4 Portugal Case Study
4.2. Empirical Material
5. Comparative analysis
6. Quantitative research
8. Further Studies
This dissertation examines the increased support for right-wing populist parties and aims to explain its uneven results between the different European member States. To answer this question, four main explanatory variables are assessed: Demographic factors, structural ones, unemployment and immigration level. In addition, two opposite case studies are selected, Portugal and Sweden, to measure the dependent variable, right-wing populist support, against the independent one which is an anti-immigration belief. Finished the comparative analysis and quantitative research, two substantive conclusions are obtained: First, feared immigration, due to its cultural consequences, is the primary reason why voters support right-wing populist parties. Second, no country in Europe has enough different demographic factors or political structures prone to ignore this phenomenon.
Why is there more support for extreme right-wing parties in some countries than others?
For the first time in history, right-wing populist parties (RPP) are playing one on one against the traditional parties in the majority of European countries. The most updated example, according to the last elections on April in Finland, shows how the populist Finnish Party, obtained just a 0,2% less support than the winner of the elections. Results like such, defend the thesis that what had been catalogued twenty years ago as a minor marginal option, is today obtaining prodigious support within the European Union. The dynamic seems only to be increasing, and the polls foresee that this growth will be strongly reflected, with its consequences, in the next May European elections.
Despite, little by little, the majority of European member States have seen how a party of this kind has shaped its public debate. The fact that there are significative different results according to what country is chosen, opens an interesting academic investigation, which has attracted minimum attention yet. The inconsistent support (RPP) obtained, having countries with a quarter of their electorate, while others where they cannot be found, and neither are waited, encourages this paper to find what are the reasons why this happens.
It is clear that an important change in voting behaviour is happening in most of the European Union. However, the reasons why this is occurring are to be answered. Have the people changed? Its way of thinking, its form of life, its collectiveness, etc. Or are rather the parties the one that has renewed its image to widen their likeliness? Controlling the offer and the demand of the political relation, then it is important to understand the system itself. Are being the political structures, the cornerstone explaining their irregular result RPP are having? Finally, a detailed look at the current settings must be studied. Have some countries suffered different issues or have they faced the same problems differently that could explain this voting outcome?
This dissertation attempts to research upon all those questions and more in order to give a concrete solution to the puzzle question proposed. To do so, the cases studies of Portugal and Sweden will be used to analyse the explanatory variables found from previous scholars and compare its quantitative data with the raised hypothesis. Following these steps, the reader will be able to understand this phenomenon better and according to what basis it grows up. The importance of this lie on, that once knowing the source of the issue, accurate solutions, and shock plans can be designed to defend the democratic institutions from populism. Previous scholars and compare its quantitative data with the raised hypothesis. Following these steps, the reader will be able to understand this phenomenon better and according to what basis it grows up. The importance of this lie on, that once knowing the source of the issue, accurate solutions and shock plans can be designed to defend the democratic institutions from populism.
Right-wing populist parties have received special attention between the scholars not only because of the nature of its proposals but because of its recent electoral success in the last times. While there is no such emphasis on which the reasons are why this political family has succeeded in some countries but no others, there is an extended bibliography on which are the explanatory variables for this political option to succeed. The electoral system or structural factors, as well as the socio-demographic aspects, are the two main intrinsic factors that determine the likeliness of a populist right-wing party to triumph. However, while these features have been analysed as fundamental to the result, the catalyst for this political ideology to start are extrinsic or depending on the circumstances as are unemployment and immigration.
In the following chapter, it will be defined what is to be meant when we say right-wing populism. Later, it is going to be presented what previous studies addressing this topic have contributed to the common knowledge. In order, the four main clarifying arguments assessing the uneven success of populist right-wing parties will be highlighted. Later, after constructing the hypothesis this paper wants to test, it will be able to move to the findings and concrete analysis going to carry on with the selected sample countries.
To define the concept, we want to asses now, (Right-wing populist parties), we shall understand separately the different pieces that form it. Right-wing parties believe in a social hierarchy, they discard social equality and defend the limitation or prohibition of any immigration. In addition, they support a liberal economic politics aiming for a minimum role of the State and a laissez-faire market position. Being this their political content, the term populist refers more concretely to the methods they use to convince their potential electorate. Parties can gain this adjective when they use a deliberately antagonistic and aggressive message, instrument the passions and sentiments of the people and appeal to the superior judgment common people have over the rest. (Betz, 2008).
It exists a wide amount of semantics that can be accounted on this topic. It is also true that many parties perfectly fitting on this political family have inner contradictions or disagreements on determined subjects. However, it exists a great consensus categorizing which parties are to be situated into this category and which not. All of them share a minimum that can be reviewed as national nativism and conservative anti-immigration postures. Most of the general society easily find to understand when it is referring to right-wing populist parties. For this reason, a good way of resume the reality would be as Muddle says, ``we know who they are, even though we do not know exactly what they are´´. (Muddle, 2007).
Once framed the concept we are about to analyse and despite this paper is interested in a nation-state behaviour of voting. It is important to understand the individual behaviour of the different social groups that live in a country and have due to their differences, diverse probabilities of voting to the populist extreme right. For this reason, social demographic factors appear as the first explanatory variable. Obviously, different age, rent, sex or education meet with different demands and aspirations, this basic idea of democracy, explains that there are some social groups more predisposed to voting for right populist parties than others.
The social cleavage inclined to vote for a party of this nature is as follows: First, it is worth to highlight the existence of a relevant gender gap between the supporters of extreme right parties. (Betz, 1994). At the same time, age supposes a pertinent constant about the voting probabilities for these parties. Previous findings explain a U shape phenomenon where younger and older people are the bigger supporters of the extreme right. The explanation for this can be the fact that these social groups depend heavily on welfare and thus are more expected to view immigrants as competitors for the same course. (Arzheimer, 2006).
Regarding education, the group more willing to support this ideology is found between those with some studies but with an average or medium performance. They have middle school diplomas which skill them to perform on their jobs but without exposing them to the liberal values university is charged with. (Ibid). This relates to the findings in what respect the class effects. The higher tendency to support right populist parties is found between those that are manual workers, self-employed or artisans. As a summarise, the relevance of an extreme right populist party in a country will be determined to the extent the size of the most potent social groups is and their capacity of gathering around such party. (Betz, 1994).
The second explanatory variable faces the structural factors that are fundamental to give an opportunity to a new party like the ones we are considering into the political competition. This argument, it is considered with special emphasis, on the rules that each country has on its electoral system. On a simple basis, the more proportional a country is, the more chances a right extreme populist party has of appearing. (Norris, 1997). The proportionality encourages both leaders and voters to support a new candidature defending their ideas. On the other hand, first past the post systems are easier to dissuade extreme populist parties to be created as its chances of having any political revenue are unlikely. (Ibid). It is important to notice that every country in Europe, but the UK has a proportional system and thus no much difference can be perceived on this basis.
Other structural factors are the ones related to the other parties competing. First, the position of the mainstream right-wing party is key to calculate the life expectancy of an extreme right populist party. (Malone, 2014). The bigger the spectrum of the former party and the most right-wing side it is located, the fewer chances the extremist version has to succeed. The lack of political space and the preference of having a moderate majority of its colour rather than from the left, keep voters to be loyal to the principal choice. At the same time, the potential alliances of the mainstream party as when it happens a big coalition succeed, are highly positive for the extremist option as a result of the popular perception of lack of alternatives. (Ibid).
While the previous potential answers to the question are merely structural of each society and they tend to be constant with the time. The other explanatory variables relate way more with the context and the social fluctuations each economic and social period brings about. The next one refers to the importance unemployment rate and the economic circumstance may have for the right-wing populist parties support. The effect of unemployment, despite what could be expected first, is markedly negative on what refers to extreme right voting. Countries with higher right-wing support tend to have comparatively good economic figures, GDP or average wage are higher than the EU average. (Matt, 2003). Unemployment or worsening economic circumstances are only considered when immigration is in height. If there is not a perceived competition for the scarce resources from outside or there are no ``others´´ to be blamed, a period of crisis alone is difficult to appeal right extreme voting. (Lubbers, 2002).
The materialist argument puts the emphasis on the relation between immigration and unemployment. While there is no important to have a piece of empirical evidence that a causes b, it is significant to remind, that is enough that people believe so, to work the argument. (Borjas, 1994). Unemployment alone tends to drop the vote share of extreme right parties. This can be explained because the economic measures of these parties do not have unemployed people to help as they are extremely liberal. (Ibid). Unless they can blame immigration, their economic policy is far from attractive to anyone without a job. Economic circumstances unaccompanied, have only slightly helped right extreme voting when they have been able to conduct the debate to the protectionist national level, where again feelings have more significance than arguments.
While unemployment without immigration decreases the probabilities of the right extreme vote. (Matt, 2003). The fact is that immigration with or without unemployment in between is fundamental to the success of this kind of parties. There is a wide agreement in the direct relationship between the level of immigration in a country and the success of extreme right parties there.
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Taken from Halla, Martin and Wagner, Alexander F. and Zweimüller, Josef, Immigration and Voting for the Extreme Right (October 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2103623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2103623
Correlation does not prove causation, for this reason, many have already asked if it is these anti-immigration feelings what energizes these parties or not. Several studies have demonstrated that the main reason why somebody votes them is likely to relate to this issue if they oppose immigration. A sentiment of repulse is usually one of the main motives that encourage the right extreme voting.
From the literature review, we can conclude that 4 main explanatory variables have been found as potential results to the question, why is there more support for extreme right-wing parties in some countries than others? Socio-demographic features, political structure issues, economic factors, and cultural ones have been highlighted and while hypothesis to be tested can be built from each, this investigation is going to principally focus on the former one.
After studying the main academic literature relating the topic this paper is about to investigate. We can identify competing theories as to why the extreme right populist parties support, can be bigger in some countries rather than others. From them, where structural factors, economic factors or cultural factors seem to be the key to explaining this outcome. This paper is going to test this main hypothesis:
H: Immigration cultural reasons are the most responsible for the success of right-wing populist parties.
This paper is going to test this hypothesis through the two case studies that have been selected to do so. While the rest of the theories or even others not contemplated on this work can have some influence as they are not exclusive, the target of this work is to find the relative importance of the cause and then see if the cultural factor is the most relevant or not. When referring to the cultural factor it is embedded the issue of immigration, but to the extent, it influences culturally, not economically. This is the reason why we mention cultural reasons and no immigration as a competing explanation because it has a multidimensional level and we focus only on one.
In this hypothesis, the dependent variable is the right extreme parties support nationally and the independent or explanatory variable is the level of real or perceived cultural threat affecting the potential voters.
The multicultural proposal that many countries attempted to develop with the entrance of immigrants during the bonanza times, where diversity was going to be beneficial for native and incoming groups, has far from establishing as expected. Where integration was demanded, the low skill and the massive number of immigrants soon develop communities with unquestionable different customs. Unwilling to cede most of them, this reality soon uncomforted the locals that perceived disrespect and a threat to their natural culture.
This issue does not limit to a situation of passive sectarianism where each group lives its own reality. Nevertheless, the fact that most of the young generations are to be immigrants' relatives while the locals birth rate is extremely low, makes literally them the future of those countries. This is one of the most important worries for the voters of such parties. What is the future going to look like and how different is going to be due to the current immigration?
Symbolic issues like the inclusion of new religions in public schools while Christianism in any of its branches is in constant decline. The loss of local folklore on behalf of the foreign one, from gastronomic issues to music or the class of morals between social groups are some of the examples of disagreement that locals notice and channel through a right extreme populist party support.
The weak situation that nations as a cultural item have nowadays due to upper institutions or the economic system, has also led many to situate in a defensive position which is increased when there is immigration in the equation. Finally, the fact that it has been created an idea of guiltiness because of past events such as colonization has disposed collectively of a feeling of moral inferiority for the local imaginary against the foreigner, not pleasing at all too determined social groups.
Probably the most relevant implication that can be found is that indeed immigrants from non-EU countries are less integrated than those from the Union. The cultural differences, as the level of studies, rent or behaviours is bigger between those coming from outside provoking a bigger cultural clash of civilizations. The social rejection comes thus principally from non-European immigrants despite there can be some non-acceptance too depending on their background.
The society can be clearly divided into neighbourhoods, habits, and patrons of consumption where in addition many times locals can vote and immigrants not. This produces a difference of political influence which many times is not seen in the streets as the sense of community tends to be narrower between those outsiders than the rather individualistic natives.
The countries selected to be used as case studies are Sweden and Portugal. Both are countries with a similar population, relative power, lifestyle, proportional electoral systems, and good economic figures. Both have immigration too but in a significative different level. Apart from that, the only difference between these countries is that Portugal does not have any populist right-wing party, while Sweden does. Does it exist a correlation or are we missing other explanatory variables that clarify why this occurs?
I believe the cases are appropriated because they share most competing theories offered in the literature review and because both relate about an issue, dealing with multiculturalism and the threat of the clash of civilizations. In the end, this is a European level matter and the objective is to find why do some countries find to deal with the extreme populist right wing and others cannot.
This section of the literature review and research design has been completed to give the reader a first insight before introducing the study research itself. Having a previous awareness of what scholars have introduced into the topic in advance, will help both, the article to not repeat anything already found, and the reader to understand the current state of the question. On the other hand, the target of the research design is to divide the technical empirical parts of the investigation to avoid any potential mistakes like bias deviation, show the logical analysis procedure and point out the significance of the case studies chosen. The scientific quality relies on this practice, demonstrating why things are the way displayed and not others.
To a great extent, this completed chapter works as a preface and warm up for what is waiting now. From this moment the main hypothesis but also the minor ones came up with, will be tested and judged. Once it is clear what the object is to be studied and the state of the question between the scholars is, it is the moment of moving forward to the study of the results and the discussion of them.
Sweden is a north middle power country of the EU populating 10.2 million of inhabitants. It has a well develop parliamentary monarchy and a wide-ranging mix economy. Sweden has been well known as one of the countries with the highest HDI index scores with one of the most developed welfare State systems. (Swedish national institute,2019). It has also been a historical example of a progressive and open society. However, and despite it could be shocking or even divergent, what matters for this paper, is that it has an important extreme right-wing populist party, between one of the most nominated. ``Sweden Democrats´´ is the most relevant right-extreme populist party of Sweden and is currently the third strongest party on its national camera. Founded in 1988 with acknowledged fascist roots, it has experienced a gradually growing, since its ideas and procedures abated at the late '90s. Since 2010, when it achieved the minimum threshold of the 4% in the Swedish national elections, its parliament representation has exponentially raised until the present 62 seats on behalf of the 18% of the electorate. (Oskarson, M., & Demker, M., 2015).
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(Created by the author using Swedish National Institute data).
The party position focuses on a clear national conservatism where Swedish history, traditions and heritage are key factors of their social ideology. In the economic arena, it can be considered quite protectionist and socialist in some issues as it encourages public intervention as a measure to obtain a quality welfare system. Finally, it is extremely focused about civil security, putting the emphasis of the threat on the immigrants and son of immigrants living in Sweden. Alike to the Front Nationale, it accuses minorities of much of the country difficulties and proposes ebullient and demagogic solutions to handle them. (Betz, 1993).
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