Social Inequalities, Migration and the Rise of Populist Parties

SCRIPTS project

In the research project with Heike Klüver, Johannes Giesecke, and Martin Kroh at the SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence we study the interplay between social inequalities, migration, and populism.


The projects seek to examine the roles that socio-economic inequality, migration, and party communication play in the rise of European populist parties. The overarching hypothesis is that populist parties – in order to mobilize voters – have exploited (perceived) inequalities and recent migration trends in their campaign strategies. To speak to this overarching theme, the research project has four pillars. First, we study how inequality leads voters to support populist parties. Second, we study how migration inflows influence voters’ decisions. Third, we conduct research on polarization (both affective and ideological). Finally, we study what issues parties stress in their communication efforts and what issues populist parties focus on.


  1. Perceived Inequality and Populism
    Lukas F StoetzerHeike Klüver, and Johannes Giesecke
    European Political Science Association Conference 2021 and Inequality Conference, University of Konstanz 2022 2023
  2. Affective partisan polarization and moral dilemmas during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Political Science Research and Methods 2023
  3. How does income inequality affect the support for populist parties?
    Lukas F StoetzerJohannes Giesecke, and Heike Klüver
    Journal of European Public Policy 2023
  4. Group-based public opinion polarisation in multi-party systems
    Denise TraberLukas F Stoetzer, and Tanja Burri
    West European Politics 2023
  5. The backlash against free movement: Does EU-internal migration fuel public concerns about immigration?
    Lukas F StoetzerMartin Kroh, and Leonard Dasey
    European Journal of Political Research 2024