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Losers of Globalization and their Vote Choice - Testing Two Contradicting Theories

Evelyne Hübscher
Central European University
Evelyne Hübscher
Central European University
Open Panel

Abstract

The paper examines the vote choice of labor market outsiders and relates to recent contributions to the comparative political economy literature and scholarship on electoral behavior. It tests two contradicting theories that lead to diverging predictions about the party choice of losers of globalization. According to the compensation thesis, we would expect labor market outsiders to support the left at the ballot. The underlying logic of the compensation thesis applied to the micro-level implies that voters, and specifically groups whose economic sector may be endangered by structural changes and globalization, would support the left because of the positive `welfare image'' and their decisive impact on social policy schemes. However, the saliency of the classical economic left-right dimension has been challenged recently and its impact on party choice has been questioned. Some scholars argue that issues such as immigration and integration have a more decisive influence on the party choice nowadays and that especially losers of globalization vote for populist (right-wing) parties, which take a negative stand on these issues. The empirical analyses test these competing theories using micro-level panel data covering 14 open economies.