Jolanda Jetten - The wealth paradox: Economic prosperity, populism and opposition to immigration


27 mars 2019




The wealth paradox: Economic prosperity, populism and opposition to immigration

Jolanda Jetten (University of Queensland)


Mercredi 27 mars à 17h au Socrate -240


Media reports often portray the rising support for anti-immigrant political parties as the logical consequence of economic stagnation and rising unemployment, thereby reinforcing the conventional wisdom that electoral support reflects competition over scarce resources (i.e. ‘realistic conflict’). In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), alongside a rather sudden rise in popularity of anti-immigrant parties, there is now a risk that this conventional wisdom explanation will be further reinforced, thereby overlooking interesting counterfactuals, which show that anti-immigrant parties have been remarkably successful in times of unprecedented prosperity. I will present a series of studies focusing on answering the question when and why economic prosperity hardens attitudes towards minorities. These studies show that anti-minority sentiments can be equally prevalent among the more affluent than among the poor. These effects are particularly pronounced when the broader economic situation is presented as unstable (i.e., economic bubble is about to burst) and when the wealth gap within a society is increasing.

And, in terms of readings, you might consider these:

Mols, F., & Jetten, J. (2017). The wealth paradox: Economic prosperity and the hardening of attitudes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Jetten, J. Mols, F., Healy, N., & Spears, R. (2017). “Fear of falling”: Economic instability enhances collective angst among societies’ wealthy. Journal of Social Issues, 73, 61-79.

Jetten, J., Mols, F., & Postmes, T. (2015). Relative deprivation and relative wealth enhances anti-immigrant sentiments: The v-curve re-examined. PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0139156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139156.