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Economic Deprivation and Radical Voting: Evidence from Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Florian Dorn
  • Clemens Fuest
  • Lea Immel
  • Florian Neumeier

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of economic deprivation on radical voting. Using a unique dataset covering different indicators of economic deprivation as well as federal election outcomes at the county-level in Germany for the period from 1998 to 2017, we examine whether economic deprivation affects the share of votes for radical right and left-wing parties using instrumental variable estimation. Our results suggest that an increase in economic deprivation has a sizeable effect on the support for radical parties at both ends of the political spectrum. The higher a county’s rate of relative poverty, the average shortfall from the national median income, and the poverty line, the higher the vote share of radical right-wing and left-wing parties. We also provide evidence that regional variation in economic deprivation gave rise to the electoral success of the populist right-wing party AfD in the federal election of 2017. Our findings thus indicate that a rise in economic deprivation may undermine moderate political forces and be a threat to political stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Dorn & Clemens Fuest & Lea Immel & Florian Neumeier, 2020. "Economic Deprivation and Radical Voting: Evidence from Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 336, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_336
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic deprivation; inequality; political polarization; radical voting; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

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