Direct and indirect welfare chauvinism as party strategies: an analysis of the Danish people's party

Romana Careja, Christian Elmelund-Præstekær, Michael Baggesen Klitgaard, Erik Gahner Larsen

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This article develops a theoretical distinction between direct and indirect welfare chauvinism in order to analyze how electorally successful populist right-wing parties transmit social policy preferences with significant redistributive implications for the shape of the welfare state. Direct welfare chauvinism occurs as a result of legislative changes that explicitly exclude recipients from social protection or reduce the level thereof on the basis of ethnicity. Indirect welfare chauvinism is the result of policy measures that apply to both natives and immigrants, but which deliberately negatively affect immigrants the most. Combining quantitative and qualitative analysis of labour market reforms in Denmark, where one of the most successful populist right-wing parties in Europe – the Danish People's Party – held a pivotal position in the period 2001–11, the article traces the intentions and deliberate policy-making strategies of the party. It shows that the distinction between direct and indirect chauvinism is a useful theoretical tool for understanding how the Danish People's Party can fulfill the expectations of both its electorate and its coalition partners, even if they point in different directions.
TidsskriftScandinavian Political Studies
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)435-457
StatusUdgivet - 2016