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Growth and Extremism


  • Markus Brueckner
  • Hans Peter Gruener


We argue that the growth rate, but not the level of aggregate income, affects the support for political extremism. In our model extreme parties offer benefits to a subset of the population; and there exists uncertainty over whether the same subset of individuals will receive these benefits in the future. Based on a panel of 16 European countries, our empirical analysis shows that lower growth rates are associated with a significant increase in right-wing extremism. We do not find a systematic effect on left-wing extremism. Uncertainty over what group will have incomes expropriated in the future may explain these results.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Brueckner & Hans Peter Gruener, 2016. "Growth and Extremism," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2016-639, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2016-639

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone & Andrea Tesei, 2012. "Oil Price Shocks, Income, and Democracy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 389-399, May.
    2. Egorov, Georgy & Guriev, Sergei & Sonin, Konstantin, 2009. "Why Resource-poor Dictators Allow Freer Media: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 645-668, November.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Londregan, John & Rosenthal, Howard, 1993. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 12-33, March.
    4. Mikael Elinder & Henrik Jordahl & Panu Poutvaara, 2008. "Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting," CESifo Working Paper Series 2489, CESifo.
    5. Artale, Angelo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2000. "A Model of Stability and Persistence in a Democracy," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 20-40, October.
    6. Durr, Robert H., 1993. "What Moves Policy Sentiment?," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 158-170, March.
    7. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
    8. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    9. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Austerity and racism
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-06-28 17:46:40
    2. My socialism
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-08-10 17:52:20
    3. The centrist crisis
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-09-22 17:36:59
    4. Not understanding the right
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-11-27 19:07:30
    5. Is the centre-left dead?
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-01-31 20:00:12
    6. Let's not debate immigration
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-02-05 19:50:09
    7. Unsayable truths
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-05-30 18:05:48

    More about this item


    Economic Growth; Political Extremism;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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