Causality, Supply and Demand: Explaining the Electoral Performance of Right Wing Populist Parties

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Political Parties
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Anna Storz
Universität Bern
Anna Storz
Universität Bern

This Paper investigates which causal combinations of conditions are responsible for the strength of right wing populism. Conducting a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) with data from 26 European countries, it shows how different combinations of conditions from the demand and supply side matter for explaining the electoral performance of this party family. The paper contributes to the existing literature in that the selection of conditions is informed by the institutional setting of Switzerland, which throughout Europe is the first country that brought up right wing populist parties and today is also home to the strongest right wing populist party. The Paper’s main findings are that it is the combination of supply and demand side conditions that explains the strength of right wing populism. The most interesting result, however, is that the absence of direct democratic institutions fosters strong right wing populist parties. This stands in stark contrast to the general assumption in the literature that direct democratic instruments encourage populism.
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