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Arndt Leininger (Chemnitz University of Technology)

28 September 2023 @ 14:00 - 15:15


  • Past event


28 September 2023
14:00 - 15:15
Event Category:
Academic Events

Left Behind and Voting Right: Residential Sorting and Populist Radical
Right Support in eastern Germany

Abstract. Growing support for populist radical right parties in declining areas, especially in post-communist societies, has often been attributed to the strain of economic decline, failure to instill democratic norms, and xenophobia. We propose a different but complementary explanation: out-migration from these regions means that many voters who would have been least likely to support anti-system parties have left and leave behind a population of increasingly disaffected voters. We exploit the case of German reunification, when 16 million East Germans were suddenly free to move to wealthier West Germany, and show that net outflows predict higher levels of populist radical right support. Using both administrative and panel survey data, we investigate multiple mechanisms: those who left are different from those who stayed, and a higher concentration of anti-establishment voters in out-migration areas affects the political preferences of those who stay.

Joint with Mark Kayser and Dani Sandu.