How to study the populist radical right and the welfare state?

Philip Rathgeb*, Marius R. Busemeyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review article and special issue introduction argues that studying the relationship between the populist radical right and the welfare state requires bridging literatures that have so far advanced with little mutual engagement: party politics and voting behaviour research on the one hand, and comparative political economy and welfare state research on the other. In this way, the article highlights the advantages of connecting different academic sub-fields in studying radical right politics. First, the literature of comparative political economy on the multi-dimensionality of welfare politics can contribute to a clearer understanding of both the welfare-related causes and consequences of radical right support. Second, the party politics literature on the radical right’s ideology provides theoretical tools to explain the welfare-related consequences of populist radical right parties. The article illustrates the advantages of bridging these literatures through the empirical contributions in this special issue and concludes with avenues of future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalWest European Politics
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2021


  • radical right parties
  • populism
  • welfare states
  • party politics
  • comparative political economy
  • voting behaviour


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