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Family and Politics: Does Parental Unemployment Cause Right-Wing Extremism?

Thomas Siedler ()

No 2411, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Recent years have witnessed a rise in right-wing extremism among German youth and young adults. This paper investigates the extent to which the experience of parental unemployment during childhood affects young people’s far right-wing attitudes and xenophobia. Estimates from three different German data sets show a positive relationship between growing up with unemployed parents and right-wing extremism, with xenophobia in particular. This paper uses differences in unemployment levels between East and West Germany, both before and after reunification, to investigate a causal relationship. Instrumental variables estimates suggest strong and significant effects of parental unemployment on right-wing extremism. This is consistent with classical theories of economic interest and voting behaviour which predict that persons who develop feelings of economic insecurity are more susceptible to right-wing extremism and anti-foreign sentiments.

Keywords: intergenerational links; instrumental variable; unemployment; right-wing extremism; panel estimators; matching (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 D72 J6 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
Date: 2006-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

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Working Paper: Family and politics: does parental unemployment cause right-wing extremism? (2006) Downloads
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