Issue Competition and the Social Construction of Target Populations: Alternative Suggestions for the Study of the Influence of Populist Radical Right Parties on Health Policy and Health Outcomes; Comment on “A Scoping Review of Populist Radical Right Parties’ Influence on Welfare Policy and its Implications for Population Health in Europe”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Departement of Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada

2 Faculty of Nursing, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada

3 School of Administration Sciences, Université TÉLUQ, Québec, QC, Canada


Rinaldi and Bekker ask whether populist radical right (PRR) parties have an influence on population health and health equity. The assumption is that this influence is negative, but mediated by political system characteristics. Starting from the authors’ premise that the positions of PRR parties on welfare policies are a good proxy for health outcomes, we build on political science literature to suggest further avenues for research. The equivocal relationship between political parties and the ownership of specific healthcare, health insurance and public health issues invites studies that break down party positions relating to different health policy issues. As policy-makers use social representations of target populations to make policy decisions and anticipate the feedback these decisions might generate, it is worth studying how PRR parties influence societal, institutional and partisan perceptions of deserving and undeserving populations, even when they are not in government.


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Volume 10, Issue 9
September 2021
Pages 591-593
  • Receive Date: 16 July 2020
  • Revise Date: 10 August 2020
  • Accept Date: 11 August 2020
  • First Publish Date: 01 September 2021