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Economic foundations of sociocultural politics: how new left and radical right voters think about inequality


Häusermann, Silja; Palmtag, Tabea; Zollinger, Delia; Abou-Chadi, Tarik; Walter, Stefanie; Berkinshaw, Sarah (2023). Economic foundations of sociocultural politics: how new left and radical right voters think about inequality. URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series 33, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Opposition between the far right and the new left has transformed West European politics, mainly through increasing sociocultural conflicts. We ask what the new cleavage articulated by these parties implies for the politicization of inequalities in advanced knowledge societies. We contrast two diverging expectations in existing literature: A first, more rational-choice-based perspective expects a trade-off, with new left voters "privileged" by economic transformations emphasizing sociocultural inequalities over socioeconomic ones–and vice versa for "disadvantaged" far right voters. A second, more sociological perspective, predicts attitudes on inequalities to be aligned along a single dimension from new left "universalists" being inequality-averse to right-wing "particularists" being more inequality-tolerant. Our evidence based on original survey data from Germany supports the second perspective. Studying the structural (educational, class, etc.) foundations of inequality aversion suggests that even the transformed (new) left electorate is more sensitive to all dimensions of inequality than voters on the (far) right.

Abstract

Opposition between the far right and the new left has transformed West European politics, mainly through increasing sociocultural conflicts. We ask what the new cleavage articulated by these parties implies for the politicization of inequalities in advanced knowledge societies. We contrast two diverging expectations in existing literature: A first, more rational-choice-based perspective expects a trade-off, with new left voters "privileged" by economic transformations emphasizing sociocultural inequalities over socioeconomic ones–and vice versa for "disadvantaged" far right voters. A second, more sociological perspective, predicts attitudes on inequalities to be aligned along a single dimension from new left "universalists" being inequality-averse to right-wing "particularists" being more inequality-tolerant. Our evidence based on original survey data from Germany supports the second perspective. Studying the structural (educational, class, etc.) foundations of inequality aversion suggests that even the transformed (new) left electorate is more sensitive to all dimensions of inequality than voters on the (far) right.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Working Paper Series > URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series
08 Research Priority Programs > Equality of Opportunity
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:September 2023
Deposited On:09 Feb 2024 10:20
Last Modified:06 Mar 2024 14:41
Series Name:URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series
Number of Pages:53
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.urpp-equality.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:6443cb53-34e9-444e-921f-f5d315811821/33_Electoral_Consequences_of_Inequality_Perceptions.pdf
Related URLs:https://www.urpp-equality.uzh.ch/en/Discussion-Paper-Series.html
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:24420
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English