Dawn of the radicals : The connection between economic growth and political radicalism
Abstract: This thesis explores how economic performance, measured as real GDP-growth per capita, affects the vote share of parties which relies on radical ideological platforms. Using a fixed effect model with panel data, based on real electoral outcomes of 18 western European democracies, the result reveals an ambiguous reality. The overall conclusion implies that low growth rates benefit the electoral success of radical-right parties and holds for robustness checks. No solid evidence of the relationship is found on the radical-left side.The result further reveals that the individuals decision to vote radical is relative more affected by the ongoing business cycle trend between the elections rather than sudden changes close to the election day. The relationship also appears to be stronger among nations of southern Europe.
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