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Title Authoritarian Legacies in Contemporary Radical Right Voting in Spain
Post date 04/27/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Most research on the growth of far-right parties in Europe deals with contemporary causes of the phenomenon. A great deal of attention has been placed on the economic roots of the political discontent that has fueled the growth of radical right voting. Labour market competition from immigration, the asymmetric effects of austerity or trade shocks are among the main causes identified by the literature.

However there is increasing evidence that points to historical legacies as an important determinant of contemporary electoral behavior. In this project we aim at testing the effect of legacies from the Francoist dictatorship (1936-75) in the vote to the new radical right party in Spain, Vox. Moreover, we aim at uncovering the conditional effects of legacies: they shape latent preferences that might get activated following informational shocks, negative valence shocks on the existing parties or economic and immigration shocks.

While the academic debate on the rise of radical right parties is structured along the divide between proponents of the so-called ’cultural’ hypothesis and those that argue for the economic roots of the political discontent that has fueled these parties, there is a potentially crucial element that has so far been neglected: the legacies from interwar fascism and postwar authoritarian regimes in the support for the contemporary radical right.

Scholars of radical right parties have, for a long time, rightfully pointed to the discontinuities in discourse and practice between traditional fascism and contemporary radical right. However, there is increasing evidence that historical legacies matter for contemporary political behavior. This might be a neglected component of the variation in support for these parties within European countries.

In this study we want to trace the Francoist legacies in the vote for the emerging radical right party in Spain, Vox. We will use the April 29 2019 general election data at the local level, and we will assess to what extent the geography of support for Vox can be traced back to the geography of francoism in Spain.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

1. We expect latent Francoist preferences to have an unconditional positive effect on the percentage of votes obtained by VOX in the 2019 Spanish General Elections.

2. We also expect that an informational shock (originated by the exposure of the electoral results in Andalusia after its regional elections) should activate the latent Francoist preferences. As such, we expect that the exposure of the results will moderate the effect of Francoist preferences and we plan to test this hypothesis with individual-level data from surveys.

3. We also expect what we define as a replacement mechanism. Specifically, we expect that negative valence shocks on the conservative party (due to corruption scandals) should favors the rise of the radical right (Vox), especially where the latent preferences are Francoist.

4. We also expect an unconditional effect of unemployment shocks (after the 2008 economic crsis) and immigra- tion increases at the municipality-level on the electoral results obtained by VOX.

5. Finally, we expect a conditional effect of immigration growth and unemployment growth. Specifically, we expect that latent Francoist preferences will be moderated by both unemployment shocks and immigration increases.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

In order to test our hypothesis we plan to estimate a set of models exploiting geographical variation in the electoral results obtained by a specific-party, VOX, in the General Spanish Elections to be held on Sunday 28th of April, 2019.

More specifically, we plan to analyze the percentage of votes obtained by VOX at the municipality-level (in study 2), whereas in study 2 we will exploit two individual-level surveys (CIS Surveys 3231 and 3234) to estimate at the individual-level the effects of the release of the electoral results in a pseudo-UESD design.

See the detailed plan in the ADDITIONAL document.

C4 Country Spain
C5 Scale (# of Units) Spanish Municipalities
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? No
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? not provided by authors
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? No
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors