Matteo CAVALLARO (CEPN, Univ. Paris 13 et Sciences Po Toulouse) : Different shades of black: a comparative analysis of radical right parties economic policy after 1990

The literature highlights how heterogeneous Radical Right Parties (RRPs) are on economic policy. This heterogeneity is often found in the same party, so that some authors labelled RRPs economic programmes as ‘schizophrenic agendas’. Consequently, the actual relevance of economic matters to RRPs is often discussed. This article studies the evolution of RRPs economic programmes in terms of importance: We explore the evolution of the relevance of economic matters to RRPs to ascertain whether it is still true that economic matters are secondary issues. We also explore the heterogeneity of RRPS with respect to economics matters. We do so by analysing data from the MARPOR project database that has been treated according to Lowe et al.’s (2011) transformation. We cover 35 different RRPs across twenty European countries for a period going from 1990 to 2014. Our findings show that economic issues are still less important in RRPs programmes than in those of other political families. However, the gap has been reducing both in length (RRPs talk more about the economy) and width (RRPs now include more economic items). The article then moves to address heterogeneity. We draw a cartography of the ‘economic policy space’ within the radical right party family. We do so by the means of various statistical methods (PCA, Ward’s method, and Additive trees) applied to manifestos data from the MARPOR project database. We find four dimensions that can describe large part of the differences between RRPs on economic matters. These dimensions all describe the “salience” of a set issues and we labelled them “Welfare”, “Economic Liberalism”, “Economic Management” and “Protectionism”. Our results show that RRPs are still very different in their economic programmes in terms of contents. Despite the existing differences, we show the existence of a trend towards a ‘welfare chauvinist’ appeal, meaning that RRPs are now keener to include pro-welfare pledges (reserved to native individuals) in their stances.


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