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Inequality and Extremist Voting: Evidence from Germany

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  • Dorn, Florian
  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Immel, Lea
  • Neumeier, Florian

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of economic inequality on political polarization. Using a unique dataset covering different measures of regional income inequality as well as federal and state election outcomes at the county level in Germany, we investigate whether inequality influences the share of votes for right-wing and left-wing extremist parties using instrumental variable estimation. Our results suggest that an increase in income inequality has a sizeable influence on the support for extremist parties. The poorer a county is compared to the national average, the higher is the share of votes both nationalist and leftist parties receive. Our findings thus indicate that the rise in economic inequality may be a threat to political stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorn, Florian & Fuest, Clemens & Immel, Lea & Neumeier, Florian, 2018. "Inequality and Extremist Voting: Evidence from Germany," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181598, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc18:181598
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; political polarization; extremist voting; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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