The FPÖ’s welfare chauvinism

Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik


This paper applies recent theoretical arguments about the relationship between redistributive justice principles and welfare chauvinism to the case of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). These arguments hold that parties vary welfare chauvinist appeals according to the redistributive principles underlying social programs. Means-tested and universal benefits that produce high levels of native-to-nonnative redistribution are thus prime targets. By contrast, social insurance individualizes benefit claims and thus undercuts the group logic inherent in nativist arguments. The analysis confirms that the FPÖ’s welfare chauvinism is mostly targeted at universal and means-tested benefits. Where it is applied to social insurance programs, the purpose is typically to exclude immigrants from non-contributory elements and thus strengthen the insurance principle for non-citizens. The analysis extends beyond existing research by also examining the adoption of welfare chauvinism by the ÖVP and the implementation of such policies by the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition between 2017 and 2019.


welfare chauvinism, FPÖ, Austria, Austrian Freedom Party, ÖVP-FPÖ coalition


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