On Wednesday, Tim Vlandas, Associate Professor of Comparative Social Policy at the University of Oxford, visited the CRC 1342 in Bremen. He presented the results of his research on the influence of economic and cultural insecurities on the electoral success of far right parties and the role of social policy in this context. Vlandas had analysed data from the European Social Survey on 24 European states from seven different years.
According to the Vlandas research, both economic and cultural insecurities of voters play a role in whether they decide to vote for far right parties. However, they have different effects on the electoral decisions of different social groups. To briefly pick out two examples:
- Voters who feel culturally insecure (mostly as a result of increasing immigration and the social discussion about it) tend more to vote for far right parties - above all - and this may come as a surprise - if they feel economically secure.
- Economic insecurity, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of voting for far right parties only among voters who are not feeling culturally insecure.
According to Vlandas, social policy acts as a buffer: Above all, the success of far right parties is counteracted by generous unemployment benefits, high pension levels, minimum wages and extensive support for families. Cuts - or even stagnation in social policy spending in times of rising demand for support - have the opposite effect.