Abstract

We outline and test the argument that globalization contributes to the electoral success of the new far right in Western Europe. We also draw on the theory of embedded liberalism to advance and test the hypothesis that a comprehensive, generous and employment-orientated system of social protection lessens the economic insecurities attendant to internationalization and, in turn, weakens support for far-right parties. In empirical analysis of national elections in 16 European polities from 1981 to 1998, we find that the universal welfare state directly depresses the vote for radical right-wing populist parties and conditions the linkages between capital mobility, trade openness and foreign immigration on the one hand and electoral support for the new far right on the other. In conclusion, we consider our findings' implications for understanding the domestic political effects of globalization and sources of right-wing populism as well as for policy reforms that promote political economic stability in an era of international integration.

1Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 13th International Conference of Europeanists, March 14–16, 2002, Chicago, IL, USA, and the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, April 19–22, 2001, Chicago, IL, USA.