Income Inequality and Support for the Populist Radical-Right : A panel data study of the Gini coefficient and the support for the Sweden Democrats covering the election years from 2002 to 2014

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Nationalekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Nationalekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Over the past two decades there has been a significant increase in the support for radical-right populist parties in Europe. Simultaneously the income inequality has been rising. The aim of this thesis is to examine how income inequality affects the support for populist radical-right parties. To achieve this, we study the support for the Sweden Democrats, a radical-right populist party, and income inequality measured as the Gini coefficient. Using Swedish municipality level panel data of the election years from 2002 to 2014, a fixed effects-method is employed to examine the relationship between the Gini coefficient and support for the Sweden Democrats. Interestingly, the results show a robust statistically significant negative relationship between income inequality and support for the Sweden Democrats. Thus, our findings indicate that increased inequality decreases the support for the Sweden Democrats.

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