Comparative European Politics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 245–263 | Cite as

Unemployment and the Radical Right in Scandinavia: Beneficial or Non-Beneficial for Electoral Support?

  • Tor Bjørklund
Original Article


A new family of political parties has emerged in Europe, emphasizing the need for a radical change in immigration policy. Their success has been accounted by various hypotheses. One hypothesis is that they appeal to marginalized voters, or more specifically, to unemployed voters, losers of modernization. Joblessness also has a connection to voters’ discontent with immigrants. The argument is that immigrants take jobs from native voters. Altogether, this sways towards the expectation that unemployment is related to the success of these parties. I question if this is the case in Scandinavia. The empirical evidence presented leads to the opposite conclusion. Low unemployment seems to give fertile soil to the growth of the radical right. When high unemployment is removed from the political agenda, a political space can be opened for questions of immigration, or more generally, issues related to the socio-cultural cleavage.


radical right unemployment immigration political party election 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tor Bjørklund
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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