Downward Class Mobility and Far-Right Party Support
Scholars are engaged in a vibrant debate over the degree to which cultural, as opposed to economic factors, drive far-right support. We argue that long-run material decline, but not the type of short-run economic change most often tested, drives far-right support. Using intergenerational occupational mobility as a proxy for long-run decline, we find a strong association with far-right (but not far-left) voting, as well as with anti-system and anti-immigrant attitudes. Short-run economic shocks, in contrast, bear no association with far-right support. The findings have potential implications both for macro-level explanations of the recent rise of the far right in Europe and for how analysts should study its material foundations.
Mark A. Kayser is Acting Dean of Faculty and Research and Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics at the Hertie School, Berlin.
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