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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

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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
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      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-09-22 17:36:59
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      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
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    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 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State

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