Minority Representation and Majority Grievances: Explaining Radical Right-Wing Support

What motivates electoral support for radical right-wing parties (RRP)? Existing literature argues that people vote for RRPs when majority groups are aggrieved by minority groups. In this paper, I contend this is problematic in two respects. First, not all minority groups are conceptually equal. Since all groups are situated in some social hierarchy, it follows that some minorities are more acceptable than others. Second, the grievance mechanism does not theoretically differentiate between descriptive or substantive representation. To address these shortcomings, I empirically test my argument in Central-Eastern Europe – home to large rising RRPs. Specifically, I empirically test my argument using both observational data in Central-Eastern Europe and experimental data in Romania to leverage between the different grievance types and minority groups. Findings suggest radical right electoral outcomes are determined the type of representation in institutions. Additionally, we find that evaluations of minority groups vary depending on social distance to the majority group, resource extraction, visibility.

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