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Economic Decline and Extreme‐Right Electoral Threat: How District‐Level Factors Shape the Legislative Debate on Immigration

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Abstract

This research examines the degree to which legislators respond to their districts by analyzing immigration-related legislative speeches from the Swedish parliament (2005-2016). Using a text-scaling method, we find that the immigration discourse fluctuates between `socio-economic responsibility' and `cultural difference' poles. We argue that socio-economic declines and extreme-right party success serve as an indication to MPs that there is demand for `cultural difference' rhetoric on immigration. Our statistical analyses support the argument and demonstrate that district-level economic declines can lead to an increase in the salience of cultural framing of migrants, especially in districts with a higher share of foreign residents. We also find that district-level extreme-right electoral success has a significant influence on legislative immigration discourse. Overall, the results have implications for studies of legislative texts, dyadic representation, and the impact of the populist right on legislative politics in Europe.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-679
JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly
Volume43
Issue number4
Early online date22 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Peer-reviewedYes

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ID: 139823820

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