The author thanks Philip Habel for his comments on an earlier version of the article and will share all data and coding for replication purposes. Vladislava Petrova, William Stodden, and Aigars Zondaks provided research assistance.
Minority Group Size, Unemployment, and the Extreme Right Vote: The Crucial Case of Latvia†
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
© 2012 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 94, Issue 3, pages 795–810, September 2013
How to Cite
Bloom, S. (2013), Minority Group Size, Unemployment, and the Extreme Right Vote: The Crucial Case of Latvia. Social Science Quarterly, 94: 795–810. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00877.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
I test the importance of demographic and economic contextual variables for the success of extreme right parties.
I employ subnational data from the crucial case of Latvia to capture the effects of minority group size and economic change on the extreme right vote. Ethnic Latvians constitute a bare majority of the Latvian population and GDP dropped by 18 percent in 2009.
I find that localities with high or rising unemployment were less likely to support extreme right parties. The dampening effect of unemployment on the extreme right was greater in localities with large minority populations.
These counterintuitive findings raise questions about the logic and generalizability of existing explanations of extreme right voting. The study of the extreme right is hampered not only by ill-suited measures of group size and economic conditions, but also by overarching theories that predict group-based outcomes.