My research interests are in comparative political economy and comparative politics, with a particular focus on welfare states, industrial relations, party politics, trade unions, and the radical right. Drawing on a research grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG, 2019-2023), my current research examines the impact of populist radical right parties on social and economic policies in the advanced capitalist democracies. Previously, I focused mainly on the policy responses of political actors and trade unions to inequality and precarity in post-industrial labour markets and welfare states. More recently, I have taken an interest in eco-social policy approaches at the international level (with colleagues from the Climate Justice and Social Policy Group at the Social Policy Association, UK) and the policy positions and impacts of anti-system parties in the Eurozone context (with Jonathan Hopkin, LSE).
Forthcoming book: How the Radical Right has changed Capitalism and Welfare in Europe and the USA (Oxford University Press)
Radical right parties are no longer political challengers on the fringes of party systems; they have become part of the political mainstream across the Western world. This book shows how they have used their political power to reform economic and social policies in Continental Europe, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the USA. In doing so, it argues that the radical right’s core ideology of nativism and authoritarianism informs their socio-economic policy preferences. However, diverse welfare state contexts mediate their socio-economic policy impacts along regime-specific lines, leading to variations of trade protectionism, economic nationalism, traditional familialism, labour market dualism, and welfare chauvinism.
The radical right has used the diverse policy instruments available within their political-economic arrangements to protect threatened labour market insiders and male breadwinners from decline, while creating a racialized and gendered precariat at the same time. This socio-economic agenda of selective status protection restores horizontal inequalities in terms of gender and ethnicity, without addressing vertical inequalities between the rich and the poor.
Combining insights from comparative politics, party politics, comparative political economy, and welfare state research, the book provides novel insights into how the radical right manufactures consent for authoritarian rule by taming the socially corrosive effects of globalised capitalism for key electoral groups, while aiming to exclude the rest from democratic participation.