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New article published in Journal of European Public Policy

Leonce Röth with Friederieke Roemer and Malisa Zobel on "Policymaking on immigrant welfare rights: the populist and the mainstream right

Römer, F., Röth, L., & Zobel, M. (2022). Policymaking on immigrant welfare rights: the populist and the mainstream right. Journal of  European Public Policy, 1-28 DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2022.2093950


In this paper, we investigate how different types of right parties affect immigrant welfare rights across 14 countries (1980–2018) in a comprehensive mixed-method study. We argue that populist radical right parties (PRRPs) support retrenchment, liberals and conservatives oppose expansions, and Christian democrats rather protect or expand rights. Accordingly, we expect conservatives and liberals to be more receptive to both direct and indirect influence of PRRPs than Christian democrats. We apply balanced panel regressions, and also include interactions with immigration indicators. Changes in immigrant welfare rights are measured using a new and encompassing dataset (MigSP), that maps immigrant welfare rights in 14 countries over 38 years. Furthermore, we qualitatively assess model-based selected cabinets in Denmark. Our evidence confirms pronounced differences between different right-wing parties. PRRPs are systematic propellers of cutting rights and affect all mainstream right parties when governing together. Christian democrats are the least likely to conduct retrenchments. We find no quantitative evidence for the indirect effects of PRRPs (contagion) and immigration dynamics. The case study evidence, however, points to the importance of both factors and discusses why indirect partisan effects (contagion) and the politicisation of immigration are very difficult to address in the standard regression framework.