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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Populist Radical Right Parties in Government and Their Impact on Immigrant's Welfare Entitlements

Political Parties
Social Welfare
Malisa Zora Zobel
Europa-Universität Viadrina
Malisa Zora Zobel
Europa-Universität Viadrina
Leonce Röth
University of Cologne

Populist radical right parties (PRRP’s) have developed from pariah to partners in over 30 democratic governments until 2017. One of their core claim based on a nativist ideology is to widen the wedge of welfare entitlements between immigrants and “natives”. The literature on the impact of PRRP’s on this core issue, also called welfare chauvinism, has so far brought forward mixed evidence. Case studies have predominantly confirmed the impact of PRRP’s on welfare chauvinism (H1), others find conservatives as equally chauvinist (H2) and some have stressed the anticipated obedience of left parties in order to avoid further loss of working class and pensioner electoral support (H3). In order to test these three partly rivaling hypotheses, we complement the literature with a comprehensive study using the entire list of governments with PRRP participation and compare the impact to a control group of over 1000 other governments without PRRP participation on a newly developed welfare chauvinism index. We use a matching tool to create appropriate comparison groups for the three hypotheses and complement the findings with three carefully selected case studies. Due to our findings PRRP’s are the strongest propellers of chauvinistic reforms whereas conservatives rank second. Social democrats are only rarely engaged in the retrenchment of equal welfare rights and green parties in government constitute the strongest bulwark for immigrant rights.
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