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Local labour market competition and radical right voting: evidence from France

Bolet, Diane (2020) Local labour market competition and radical right voting: evidence from France. European Journal of Political Research. ISSN 0304-4130

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1475-6765.12378

Abstract

How do the economic effects of immigration affect radical right support? The evidence in support of the labour market competition theory—which posits that the economic threat posed by immigration to jobs and wages leads to radical right voting—has been mixed. On the one hand, individual‐level surveys underreport economic drivers because of social desirability bias. On the other hand, contextual studies show contradictory findings due to an over‐reliance on units of analysis that are too aggregated to meaningfully capture the competitive threat posed by immigrants. This paper identifies the influence of labour market competition on radical right voting at a local level in contexts where native workers are directly affected by the arrival of immigrants who have similar or higher skillsets. Using an original longitudinal dataset of fine‐grained municipal electoral, demographic and economic data from France over the 2002–2017 period, the paper provides empirical evidence of local contextual influences of economic competition between natives and immigrants of any skillset. Under local conditions of material deprivation, measured by the local unemployment rate, the effect of labour market competition on municipalities’ radical right vote share is amplified. Moreover, higher radical right support is observed in municipalities with a higher share of any one of the following groups: low‐skilled natives; medium‐skilled immigrants; or high‐skilled immigrants. This supports the hypothesis that immigrants with higher qualifications are compelled to accept lower‐skilled jobs, and are thus perceived as a competitive threat to low‐skilled natives. By reconciling radical right contextual studies and research on the political economy of immigration policies, this paper highlights the importance of a local analysis in detecting the effect of labour market competition on radical right support. This paper also explains why some local areas are more prone to radical right support than others over time.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://ejpr.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Government
European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 11:30
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2020 14:21
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/103016

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