IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is Populism Necessarily Bad Economics?


  • Dani Rodrik


I distinguish between political and economic populism. Both are averse to agencies of restraint, or, equivalently, delegation to technocrats or external rules. In the economic domain, delegation to independent agencies (domestic or foreign) occurs in two different contexts: (i) in order to prevent the majority from harming itself in the future and (ii) in order to cement a redistribution arising from a temporary political advantage for the longer-term. Economic policy restraints that arise in the first case are desirable; those that arise in the second case are much less so.

Suggested Citation

  • Dani Rodrik, 2018. "Is Populism Necessarily Bad Economics?," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 196-199, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:apandp:v:108:y:2018:p:196-99
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181122

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Joseph J. Capuno, 2020. "Dutertenomics: Populism, Progress, and Prospects," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 15(2), pages 262-279, July.
    2. Sergei Guriev, 2020. "Labor market performance and the rise of populism," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 479-479, July.
    3. Ferrara, Federico M. & Masciandaro, Donato & Moschella, Manuela & Romelli, Davide, 2022. "Political voice on monetary policy: Evidence from the parliamentary hearings of the European Central Bank," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    4. Nicolás Cachanosky & Alexandre Padilla, 2021. "Left-Populism, Commodity Prices, and Economic Crises in Latin America," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 36(Summer 20), pages 1-17.
    5. Teresa Ghilarducci & Zachary Knauss & Richard McGahey & William Milberg & Drew Landes & Edward Nilaj, 2021. "The Future of  Heterodox  Economics," SCEPA working paper series. 2021-01, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
    6. Mark Copelovitch & Jon C. W. Pevehouse, 2019. "International organizations in a new era of populist nationalism," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 169-186, June.
    7. Giray Gozgor, 2022. "The role of economic uncertainty in the rise of EU populism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 190(1), pages 229-246, January.
    8. Cachanosky, Nicolás & Salter, Alexander W. & Savanti, Ignacio, 2022. "Can dollarization constrain a populist leader? The case of Rafael Correa in Ecuador," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 430-442.
    9. Italo Colantone & Piero Stanig, 2019. "The Surge of Economic Nationalism in Western Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 128-151, Fall.
    10. Konstantin Sonin, 2020. "The Historical Perspective on the Trump Puzzle: A Review of Barry Eichengreen’s “The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Eraâ€," Working Papers 2020-129, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    11. Sebastian Edwards, 2019. "On Latin American Populism, and Its Echoes around the World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 76-99, Fall.
    12. Campos, Luciano & Casas, Agustín, 2021. "Rara Avis: Latin American populism in the 21st century," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    13. Federico M. Ferrara & Donato Masciandaro & Manuela Moschella & Davide Romelli, 2021. "Political Voice on Monetary Policy: Evidence from the Parliamentary Hearings of the European Central Bank," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 21159, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    14. Aristotelis Boukouras & Will Jennings & Lunzheng Li & Zacharias Maniadis, 2019. "Can Biased Polls Distort Electoral Results? Evidence From The Lab And The Field," Discussion Papers in Economics 19/06, Division of Economics, School of Business, University of Leicester.
    15. Miklós Rosta & László Tóth, 2021. "Is there a demand for autocracies in Europe? Comparing the attitudes of Hungarian and Italian university students toward liberal democratic values inspired by János Kornai," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 187(1), pages 217-233, April.
    16. Stöckl, Sebastian & Rode, Martin, 2021. "The price of populism: Financial market outcomes of populist electoral success," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 51-83.
    17. Daniel L. Bennett & Christopher Boudreaux & Boris Nikolaev, 2023. "Populist discourse and entrepreneurship: The role of political ideology and institutions," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 54(1), pages 151-181, February.
    18. Maciej Wysocki & Cezary Wojcik & Andreas Freytag, 2022. "Populists and Fiscal Policy: The Case of Poland," Jena Economics Research Papers 2022-013, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    19. Fabrizio Botti & Marcella Corsi, 2019. "La destra populista in Europa: una prospettiva economica (The populist right in Europe: An economic perspective)," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 72(286), pages 133-147.
    20. Nicolás Cachanosky & Edward J. Lopez, 2020. "Rediscovering Buchanan’s rediscovery: non-market exchange versus antiseptic allocation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 183(3), pages 461-477, June.
    21. Frolov, Daniil, 2019. "From institutions to extitutions to the post-institutional theory of institutional anomalies," MPRA Paper 95960, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Sep 2019.
    22. Aristotelis Boukouras & Will Jennings & Lunzheng Li & Zacharias Maniadis, 2019. "Can Biased Polls Distort Electoral Results? Evidence from the Lab and the Field," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000001528, David K. Levine.
    23. Aguilera, Ruth & Duran, Patricio & Heugens, P.P.M.A.R. & Sauerwald, Steve & Turturea, Roxana & VanEssen, Marc, 2021. "State ownership, political ideology, and firm performance around the world," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(1).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:apandp:v:108:y:2018:p:196-99. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.