Makers against takers: The socio-economic ideology and policy of the Austrian Freedom Party

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Abstract

Recent studies hold that populist radical right parties have shifted towards a leftist socio-economic position in response to growing working-class support. Based on an analysis of policy choices in government, the present article examines this ‘pro-welfare view’ through a case study analysis of the Freedom Party of Austria (FP€O). Yet, despite the ‘proletarisation’ of its electoral support base, the FP€ O’s pro-welfare impact is restricted to the mitigation of welfare retrenchment for the core workforce, whereas the party has been a protagonist of tax cuts, trade union disempowerment and, more recently, welfare chauvinism. This policy impact can be attributed to a producerist ideology arguing that tax-paying ‘makers’ (employees, employers) need to be liberated from the economic burden imposed by self-serving ‘takers’ (immigrants, ‘corrupt elite’). The article concludes with conceptual and theoretical implications for the political economy of the populist radical right.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Early online date18 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • radical right parties
  • populism
  • economic policies
  • social policies
  • corporatism

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