Contextual-level unemployment and support for radical-right parties: A meta-analysis

Take Sipma, Marcel Lubbers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The contextual-level unemployment rate is often adduced to explain radical right support. It has been assessed before that research findings are mixed, but it is unknown why the association is so different across studies. Our meta-analysis examined 162 effects from 49 studies, and indicated a positive overall effect, as predicted by main theories, but it was rather small. The positive effect was predominantly found among studies that theorized the effect, possibly indicating publication bias. The effect was positive in Western and Eastern Europe, but absent in Northern Europe. The positive effect was furthermore evident only after 2008, when the economic crisis hit Europe. Findings on the effect of unemployment being dependent on immigration were mixed as well. Our study calls for more comprehensive studies that bypass the focus on the main effect of unemployment and extend theorizing about the conditions under which unemployment affects support for the radical right.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351–387
Number of pages37
JournalActa Politica
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Radical right
  • Voting behaviour
  • Unemployment
  • Economic crisis
  • Meta-analysis


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