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Volume 2017, Article ID 1580526, 12 pages
Research Article

Predicting the Rise of EU Right-Wing Populism in Response to Unbalanced Immigration

1Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
2Faculty of Information Studies, SI-8000 Novo Mesto, Slovenia
3University of Rijeka, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
4Zagreb School of Economics and Management, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
5Luxembourg School of Business, 2453 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
6Center of Mathematics for Social Creativity, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0812, Japan
7CERGE-EI, Praha 1, 11000 Nové Město, Czech Republic
8Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
9Adriatic Economic Association, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Correspondence should be addressed to Boris Podobnik; rh.yhp@pb

Received 19 February 2017; Revised 15 May 2017; Accepted 15 June 2017; Published 7 August 2017

Academic Editor: Fabio Caccioli

Copyright © 2017 Boris Podobnik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Among the central tenets of globalization is the free migration of labor. Although much has been written about the benefits of globalization, little is known about its limitations and how antiglobalist sentiment can be strongly affected by high levels of immigration. Analyzing poll data from a group of EU countries affected by the recent migrant crisis, we find that over the last three years the percentage of right-wing (RW) populist voters in a given country depends on the prevalence of immigrants in this country’s population and the total immigration inflow into the entire EU. The latter is likely due to the perception that the EU functions as a supranational state in which a lack of inner borders means that “someone else’s problem” can easily become “my problem.” We find that the increase in the percentage of RW voters substantially surpasses the percentage of immigration inflow, implying that if this process continues, ongoing democratic processes will cause RW populism to prevail and globalization to rapidly decrease. We locate tipping points between the fraction of immigrants and the rise of RW populism, and we model our empirical findings using a complex network framework in which the success of globalization rests on a balance between immigration and immigrant integration.