Macro level comparisions and extreme right-wing vote in western Europe



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Competition theory suggests that an increase in collective threat to the dominant ethnic and racial groups increases out-group prejudice, which should translate into support for extreme right-wing parties (ERP) in national elections. Collective threat is understood as competition over scarce resources, which is intensified through rising immigration, unemployment, inflation rates and reduced economic growth. This study uses regional level data in five Western European countries over the period of 2000-2011 to measure the effects of the proposed variables on extreme right-wing party support in national elections. The results indicate that high levels of immigration and reduced economic growth increases ERP support as the theory predicted. Contrary to the theory, however, unemployment and inflation correlate negatively with ERP support. Though the basic tenants of competition theory found clear support indicating structural change that will spur extreme right-wing vote, it is necessary to reevaluate competition theory in relation to unemployment and possibly also to inflation, in order to determine whether the unpredicted results come from differences in prejudice levels or other competing values that are capable of undermining the role of prejudice.