Populist parties in Europe: agents of discontent?

Anders Widfeldt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


In this book, van Kessel seeks to explain the electoral performances of populist parties with a two-step approach. First, a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) across 31 European countries; second, in-depth case studies of the Netherlands, Poland and Great Britain. The key independent variables, or ‘fundamental conditions’ (23–8), are the proportionality of the electoral system, the responsiveness of the established parties and the credibility of the populist parties themselves. In addition, the saliency of four issue areas is considered, namely ethnicity and culture, economic hardship, European integration and corruption. The fsQCA approach allows the setting of ‘membership scores’ continuously between 0 and 1, in contrast to the rigidly dichotomous ‘crisp set’ QCA approach. The qualitative nature of these scores is potentially problematical, but the author has consulted country experts and difficult choices are explained in the text
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-908
Number of pages2
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number4
Early online date4 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


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