Explaining right-wing violence in Germany: a time series analysis
McLaren, L. M.
Social Science Quarterly
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
166 - 180
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Although some research exists on the relationship between the economy, foreigners, and support for right-wing parties, the effect of the economy and foreigners on instances of right-wing violence in Germany has not yet been explored. The purpose of this paper is to determine the nature of the relationships between these variables. Methods. Data were obtained from the German government on the number of instances of right-wing violence, the number of foreigners, and unemployment, and simple OLS was performed after correcting for minor time series problems. Results. The findings indicated that the relationship between the economy and acts of right-wing violence is not simple, but is moderated by the change in the number of foreigners. Specifically, increasing unemployment has little or no effect on the change in right-wing violence, unless the number of foreigners in the country is also on the rise. Conclusions. While a declining economy may create psychological and physical hardship for individuals, at the aggregate level, a country's economic difficulties will not necessarily result in violence against out-groups. Thus, solving economic problems will not likely reduce right-wing violence, and instead, governments need to emphasize reducing the hostility toward immigrants and other outgroups by focusing on the root causes of this hostility, which do not appear to be economic in nature.