Skip to main content Accessibility help

Young and Temporary: Youth Employment Insecurity and Support for Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe

  • Piotr Zagórski (a1), Jose Rama (a2) and Guillermo Cordero (a3)


The recent success of right-wing populist parties (RPPs) in Europe has given rise to different explanations. Economic factors have proven to be significant mainly at the aggregate level. As for the individual level, it has been argued that the so-called ‘losers of globalization’ – the less educated and less skilled, profiles with higher job insecurity – are more likely to support RPPs. Nevertheless, RPPs perform strikingly well in countries less affected by the Great Recession, gathering high levels of support among profiles not considered the losers of globalization. Moreover, the effect of age on support for RPPs is not clear, as, on the one hand, the young are better educated and skilled, but, on the other, they suffered the effects of the economic crisis more. To address this puzzle, we focus on the impact of unemployment and employment insecurity among the youth on voting for RPPs in 17 European countries. We find that youth support for RPPs can be explained by the precariousness of the youth labour market.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All
Abedi, A (2004) Anti-Political Establishment Parties: A Comparative Analysis. London: Routledge.
Aleknonis, G and Matkevičienė, R (2016) Populism in Lithuania: Defining the Research Tradition. Baltic Journal of Law and Politics 9(1), 2648,
Allen, TJ (2017) Exit to the Right? Comparing Far Right Voters and Abstainers in Western Europe. Electoral Studies 50, 103115.
Arzheimer, K (2009) Contextual Factors and the Extreme Right Vote in Western Europe, 1980–2002. American Journal of Political Science 53(2), 259275.
Arzheimer, K (2018) Explaining Electoral Support for the Radical Right. In Rydgren, J (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 143165.
Arzheimer, K and Carter, E (2006) Political Opportunity Structures and Right-Wing Extremist Party Success. European Journal of Political Research 45(3), 419443.
Bernhard, L (2017) Three Faces of Populism in Current Switzerland: Comparing the Populist Communication of the Swiss People's Party, the Ticino League, and the Geneva Citizens’ Movement. Swiss Political Science Review 23(4), 509525.
Bessant, J (2018) Young Precariat and a New Work Order? A Case for Historical Sociology. Journal of Youth Studies 21(6), 780796,
Betz, HG and Meret, S (2013) Right-Wing Populist Parties and the Working-Class Vote. In Rydgren, J (ed.), Class Politics and the Radical Right. London: Routledge, pp. 107121.
Blais, A (2007) Turnout in Elections. In Dalton, RJ and Klingemann, HD (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 621635.
Bobba, G and Roncarolo, F (2018) The likeability of populism on social media in the 2018 Italian general election. Italian Political Science 13(1), 5162.
Bustikova, L (2018) The Radical Right in Eastern Europe. In Rydgren, J (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 565581.
Boomgaarden, HG and Vliegenthart, R (2007) Explaining the Rise of Anti-Immigrant Parties: The Role of News Media Content in the Netherlands. Electoral Studies 26(2), 404417,
Carter, E (2005) The Extreme Right in Western Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Chen, T, Hallaert, J-J, Pitt, A, Qu, H, Queyranne, M, Rhee, A, Shabunina, A, Vandenbussche, J and Yackovlev, I (2018) Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in the European Union, IMF Staff Discussion Note 18/01.
Colantone, I and Stanig, P (2018) The Trade Origins of Economic Nationalism: Import Competition and Voting Behavior in Western Europe. American Journal of Political Science 62, 936953,
Dalio, R, Kryger, S, Rogers, J and Gardner, D (2017) Populism: The Phenomenon. Bridgewater: Daily Observations 203 (226–3030).
de Lange, SL (2007) A New Winning Formula? The Programmatic Appeal of the Radical Right. Party Politics 13(4), 411435.
Eger, MA and Valdez, S (2015) Neo-Nationalism in Western Europe. European Sociological Review 31(1), 115130.
Emanuele, V (2015) Dataset of Electoral Volatility and its Internal Components in Western Europe (1945–2015). Rome: Italian Center for Electoral Studies,
Fontaine, P (2017) Dawn of the Populist. Reykjavík Grapevine, 22 September,
Ford, R and Goodwin, MJ (2014) Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain. London: Routledge.
Funke, M, Schularick, M and Trebesch, C (2015) Going to Extremes: Politics after Financial Crisis, 1870–2014. CESIFO Working Papers 5553. Category 7: Monetary Policy and International Finance.
Giebler, H and Regel, S (2018) Who Votes Right-Wing Populist? Geographical and Individual Factors in Seven German State Elections. WISO Diskurs 14/2018. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Gidron, N and Hall, PA (2017) The Politics of Social Status: Economic and Cultural Roots of the Populist Right. British Journal of Sociology 68(1), 5784.
Golder, M (2003) Explaining Variation in the Success of Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe. Comparative Political Studies 36(4), 432466.
Golder, M (2016) Far Right Parties in Europe. Annual Review of Political Science 19, 477497.
Greven, T (2016) The Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Europe and the United States: A Comparative Perspective. Berlin: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung,
Guest, D, Isaksson, K and De Witte, H (2010) Employment Contracts, Psychological Contracts, and Employee Well-Being: An International Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hameleers, M, Bos, L and de Vreese, C. (2017) The Netherlands: A Heartland Full of Insights into Populist Communication. In Aalberg, T, Esser, F, Reinemann, C, Stromback, J and de Vreese, C (eds), Populist Political Communication in Europe. New York: Routledge, pp. 138150.
Han, KJ (2016) Income Inequality and Voting for Radical Right-Wing Parties. Electoral Studies 42, 5464,
Havlík, V and Stanley, B (2015) New Populist Parties in Central and Eastern Europe: Non-Ideological or Centrist? Paper presented at the Team Populism Conference Solving the Puzzles of Populism, London, UK.
Havlík, V and Voda, P (2018) Cleavages, Protest or Voting for Hope? The Rise of Centrist Populist Parties in the Czech Republic. Swiss Political Science Review 24(2), 161186,
Hawkins, KA (2010) Venezuela's Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hawkins, K and Rovira Kaltwasser, C (2018) Introduction: The Ideational Approach. In Hawkins, KA, Carlin, RE, Littvay, L and Rovira Kaltwasser, C (eds), The Ideational Approach to Populism: Concept, Theory and Analysis. New York: Routledge, pp. 123.
Hernández, E and Kriesi, H (2016) The Electoral Consequences of the Financial and Economic Crisis in Europe. European Journal of Political Research 55(2), 203224.
Hobolt, SB and Tilley, J (2016) Fleeing the Centre: The Rise of Challenger Parties in the Aftermath of the Euro Crisis. West European Politics 39(5), 971991.
Inglehart, R (1997) Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Inglehart, R and Norris, P (2016) Trump, Brexit and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash. HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP16-026,
Ionescu, G and Gellner, E (eds) (1969) Populism: Its Meaning and National Characteristics. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Ivarsflaten, E (2005) The Vulnerable Populist Right Parties: No Economic Realignment Fuelling their Electoral Success. European Journal of Political Research 44(3), 465492.
Ivarsflaten, E (2008) What Unites the Populist Right in Western Europe? Reexamining Grievance Mobilization Models in Seven Successful Cases. Comparative Political Studies 41(1), 323,
Jackman, RW and Volpert, K (1996) Conditions Favouring Parties of the Extreme Right in Western Europe. British Journal of Political Science 26(4), 501521.
Jupskås, AR (2013) The Progress Party in Norway: A Fairly Integrated Part of the Norwegian Party System? In Grabow, K and Hartleb, F (eds), Right-Wing and National Populism in Europe. Brussels: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS)/Centre for European Studies (CES), pp. 205236.
Kovács, A (2013) The Post-Communist Extreme Right. The Jobbik Party in Hungary. In Wodak, R, KhosraviNik, M and Mral, B (eds), Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 223234.
Kriesi, H and Pappas, T (eds) (2015) European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession. Colchester: ECPR Press.
Kriesi, H, Grande, E, Lachat, R, Dolezal, R, Bornschier, S and Frey, T (2006) Globalization and the Transformation of the National Political Space: Six European Countries Compared. European Journal of Political Research 45(6), 921956.
Kriesi, H, Grande, E, Lachat, R, Dolezal, M, Bornschier, S and Frey, T (2008) West European Politics in the Age of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kriesi, H, Grande, E, Dolezal, M, Helbling, M, Höglinger, D, Hutter, S and Wüst, B (2012) Political Conflict in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis-Beck, MS and Stegmaier, M (2013) The V-P Function Revisited: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after over 40 Years. Public Choice 157(3), 367385.
Lubbers, M, Gisberts, M and Scheepers, P (2002) Extreme Right-Wing Voting in Western Europe. European Journal of Political Research 41(3), 345378.
Madisson, M-L and Ventsel, A (2016) Autocommunicative Meaning-Making in Online-Communication of Estonian Extreme Right. Sign Systems Studies 44(3), 326354.
Mair, P (2013) Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy. London: Verso Books.
March, L (2011) Radical Left Parties in Contemporary Europe. Abingdon: Routledge.
March, L and Mudde, C (2005) What's Left of the Radical Left? The European Radical Left after 1989: Decline and Mutation. Comparative European Politics 3(1), 2349.
Marx, P (2014) Labour Market Risks and Political Preferences: The Case of Temporary Employment. European Journal of Political Research 53, 136159.
McGann, AJ and Kitschelt, H (2005) The Radical Right in the Alps. Party Politics 11(2), 147171.
Minkenberg, M (2017) The Radical Right in Eastern Europe: Democracy under Siege? New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mills, M, Blossfeld, HP and Klijzing, E (2005) Becoming an Adult in Uncertain Times: A 14-Country Comparison of the Losers of Globalization. In Blossfeld, HP, Klijzing, E, Mills, M and Kurz, K (eds), Globalization, Uncertainty and Youth in Society. London: Routledge, pp. 393411.
Moffitt, B (2016) The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Mols, F and Jetten, J (2017) The Wealth Paradox: Economic Prosperity and the Hardening of Attitudes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Morlino, L and Raniolo, F (2017) The Impact of Economic Crisis on Southern European Democracies: The New Protest Parties. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mudde, C (2004) The Populist Zeitgeist. Government and Opposition: An International Journal of Comparative Politics 39(4), 541563,
Mudde, C (2007) Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mudde, C and Rovira-Kaltwasser, C (2018) Studying Populism in Comparative Perspective: Reflections on the Contemporary and Future Research Agenda. Comparative Political Studies 51 (13), 16661693,
Nociar, T and Thomeczek, JP (2018) Far Right Politics in Germany: From Fascism to Populism? LSE European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) Blog, 24 January.
Norris, P and Inglehart, R (2019) Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Oesch, D and Rennwald, L (2018) Electoral Competition in Europe's New Tripolar Political Space: Class Voting for the Left, Centre-Right and Radical Right. European Journal of Political Research 57(4), 783807.
Pappas, T (2016) Distinguishing Liberal Democracy's Challengers. Journal of Democracy 27(4), 2236.
Pauwels, T (2010) Explaining the Success of Neo-Liberal Populist Parties: The Case of Lijst Dedecker in Belgium. Political Studies 58(5), 10091029.
Petsinis, V (2016) Contentious Politics in the Baltics: The ‘New’ Wave of Right-Wing Populism in Estonia. Open Democracy, 28 April.
Pirro, ALP (2015) The Populist Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe: Ideology, Impact, and Electoral Performance. Abingdon: Routledge.
Polk, J et al. (2017) Explaining the Salience of Anti-Elitism and Reducing Political Corruption for Political Parties in Europe with the 2014 Chapel Hill Expert Survey Data. Research & Politics 4(1), 19.
Pop-Eleches, G (2010) Throwing out the Bums: Protest Voting and Unorthodox Parties after Communism. World Politics 62(2), 221260.
Rensmann, L, de Lange, S and Couperus, S (2017) Populism and the Remaking of (Il)Liberal Democracy in Europe. Politics and Governance 5(4), 106186.
Rico, G and Anduiza, E (2019) Economic Correlates of Populist Attitudes: An Analysis of Nine European Countries in the Aftermath of the Great Recession. Acta Politica 54(3), 371397,
Rooduijn, M (2018a) What Unites the Voter Bases of Populist Parties? Comparing the Electorates of 15 Populist Parties. European Political Science Review 10(3), 351368,
Rooduijn, M (2018b) State of the Field: How to Study Populism and Adjacent Topics? A Plea for Both More and Less Focus. European Journal of Political Research 58(1), 362372,
Rooduijn, M and Burgoon, B (2017) The Paradox of Well-being: Do Unfavourable Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Contexts Deepen or Dampen Radical Left and Right Voting Among the Less Well-Off? Comparative Political Studies 51(13), 17201753,
Rooduijn, M, Burgoon, B, van Elsas, EJ and van de Werfhorst, HG (2017) Radical Distinction: Support for Radical Left and Radical Right Parties in Europe. European Union Politics 18(4), 536559.
Rueda, D (2007) Social Democracy Inside Out: Partisanship and Labour Market Policy in Industrialized Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rydgren, J (2007) The Sociology of the Radical Right. Annual Review of Sociology 33, 241262.
Schedler, A (1996) Anti-Political-Establishment Parties. Party Politics 2, 291312.
Schmuck, D, Matthes, J and Boomgaarden, H (2016) Austria: Candidate-Centered and Anti-Immigrant Right-Wing Populism. In Aalberg, T, Esser, F, Reinemann, C, Strömbäck, J and de Vreese, C (eds), Populist Political Communication in Europe. New York: Routledge, pp. 8598.
Schultheis, E (2017) What Right-Wing Populists Look Like in Norway. The Atlantic, 12 September.
Siedler, T (2011) Parental Unemployment and Young People's Extreme Right-Wing Party Affinity: Evidence from Panel Data. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) 174, 737758.
Sipma, T and Lubbers, M (2018) Contextual-Level Unemployment and Support for Radical-Right Parties: A Meta-Analysis. Acta Politica, published early online, October,
Sloam, J (2013) The ‘Outraged Young’: How Young Europeans are Reshaping the Political Landscape. Political Insight 4(1), 47.
Sloam, J (2014) New Voice, Less Equal. Comparative Political Studies 47(5), 663688.
Standing, G (2013) Defining the Precariat: A Class in the Making. Eurozine, 19 April.
Stanley, B (2008) The Thin Ideology of Populism. Journal of Political Ideologies 13(1), 95110.
Stegmaier, M and Lewis-Beck, MS (2000) Economic Determinants of Electoral Outcomes. Annual Review of Political Science 3, 183219,
Stockemer, D (2017) The Front National in France: Continuity and Change Under Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen. Ontario: Springer.
Stockemer, D, Lentz, T and Mayer, D (2018) Individual Predictors of the Radical Right-Wing Vote in Europe: A Meta-Analysis of Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals (1995–2016). Government and Opposition: An International Journal of Comparative Politics 53(1), 569593.
Sztompka, P (2016) The ‘Demand Side’ of Populism: The Case of Poland. In Martinelli, A. (ed.), Populism on the Rise: Democracies Under Challenge? Milan: Instituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, pp. 7392.
Tavits, M (2007) Party System in the Making: The Emergence and Success of New Parties in New Democracies. British Journal of Political Science 38(1), 113133.
Teperoglou, E, Tsatsanis, E and Nicolacopoulos, E (2015) Habituating to the New Normal in a Post-Earthquake Party System: The 2014 European Election in Greece. South European Society and Politics 20(3), 333355,
van Elsas, EJ (2017) Appealing to the ‘Losers’? The Electorates of Left-Wing and Right-Wing Eurosceptic Parties Compared, 1989–2014. Electoral Studies 50, 6879.
van Hauwaert, SM and van Kessel, S (2018) Beyond Protest and Discontent: A Cross-National Analysis of the Effect of Populist Attitudes and Issue Positions on Populist Party Support. European Journal of Political Research 57, 6892,
van Kessel, S (2015) Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Vlandas, T and Halikiopoulou, D (2019) Does Unemployment Matter? Economic Insecurity, Labour Market Policies and the Far-Right Vote in Europe. European Political Science 18(3), 421438,
Werts, H, Scheepers, P and Lubbers, M (2013) Euro-Scepticism and Radical Right-Wing Voting in Europe, 2002–2008: Social Cleavages, Socio-political Attitudes and Contextual Characteristics Determining Voting for the Radical Right. European Union Politics 14(2), 183205.
Zaslove, A and Wolinetz, S (2018) Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems. London: ECPR Press.
Zulianello, M (2019) Anti-System Parties: From Parliamentary Breakthrough to Government. London: Routledge.


Young and Temporary: Youth Employment Insecurity and Support for Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe

  • Piotr Zagórski (a1), Jose Rama (a2) and Guillermo Cordero (a3)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed