Is Europe moving in the right direction? : a statistical analysis of right-wing populism
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- Master's theses (HH) 
Right-wing populism has emerged as a major political force in Europe over the last 10 to 15 years and changed the political balance in several countries. Many researchers and studies have attempted to explain this phenomenon with various outcomes. These studies have usually focused on theoretical explanations or statistical analyses of individual countries. This thesis aims at explaining right-wing electoral success in 27 European countries from 2008-2019. Two frameworks will be introduced and discussed, the “Losers of modernization” and “Regressive left”, along with key characteristics of the right-wing ideology. Three hypotheses based on economic deprivation, political trust and immigration developed from a theoretical ground will then be tested in a panel data analysis. Based on data from Eurostat, European Social Survey and official data on election results, I examine whether socio-economic factors of the countries yield any explanatory power for electoral success in national elections during the time period. The main findings imply little statistical evidence for factors such as unemployment, income and immigration for Europe as a whole. However, regional differences between Western and Eastern Europe prove to be highly evident in terms of significance in the explanatory variables. Economic deprivations such as unemployment and shrinking household income can help explain the electoral success of rightwing parties in Western Europe, along with negative attitudes towards immigrants. The European integration and the wider globalization illuminate the Western European rise of rightwing populism. In Eastern Europe, political distrust, rising inequalities and growing influx of immigrants provide fertile ground for the right-wing parties. Here, national identity and nationalism prove to be strong factors for electoral success.