Cultural Threat or Fiscal Burden? Migrant Unemployment and Class-based Support for Populist Radical Right Parties

02.05.2022 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231 und online via Zoom
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Prof. Guillermo Cordero
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Besides cultural explanations, extant accounts of support for Populist Radical Right parties (PRRP) resort to economic factors, usually conditioned by the natives’ social profile. More specifically, according to the labor market competition theory, lower and middle class’ natives would feel threatened by competition over scarce jobs and social benefits with immigrants, triggering the vote for PRRPs. Contrastingly, the fiscal burden approach assumes that migrants increase the fiscal pressure and make richer natives less likely to support immigration and vote for PRRPs. Using data for over 60 regions from 10 EU countries, we show that, on one hand, natives from lower and middle classes are more likely to support PRRPs in contexts of higher unemployment rates only among non-EU migrants (but not among migrants from other EU member states), pointing towards an interaction between cultural and economic threats explanation. On the other hand, natives from the upper class are more prone to support PRRPs where the unemployment rates among migrants are higher independently of their origin, consistent with the fiscal burden on public services account. Thus, our findings suggest that this interaction between economic and cultural explanations of PRRP voting vary across voter profiles.