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Populist Leaders and the Economy

Author

Listed:
  • Manuel Funke

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

  • Moritz Schularick

    (University of Bonn and CEPR)

  • Christoph Trebesch

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy, CEPR and CESifo)

Abstract

Populism at the country level is at an all-time high, with more than 25% of nations currently governed by populists. How do economies perform under populist leaders? We build a new cross-country database identifying 50 populist presidents and prime ministers 1900-2018. We find that the economic cost of populism is high. After 15 years, GDP per capita is more than 10% lower compared to a plausible non-populist counterfactual. Rising economic nationalism and protectionism, unsustainable macroeconomic policies, and institutional decay under populist rule do lasting damage to the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Funke & Moritz Schularick & Christoph Trebesch, 2020. "Populist Leaders and the Economy," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 036, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:ajk:ajkdps:036
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    3. Tito Boeri & Prachi Mishra & Chris Papageorgiou & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2021. "Populism and Civil Society," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(352), pages 863-895, October.
    4. Bibek Adhikari, 2022. "A Guide to Using the Synthetic Control Method to Quantify the Effects of Shocks, Policies, and Shocking Policies," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 67(1), pages 46-63, March.
    5. Fremerey, Melinda & Hörnig, Lukas & Schaffner, Sandra, 2022. "Becoming neighbors with refugees and voting for the far-right? The impact of refugee inflows at the small-scale level," Ruhr Economic Papers 947, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Michael Bayerlein & Vanessa A. Boese & Scott Gates & Katrin Kamin & Syed Mansoob Murshed, 2021. "Populism and COVID-19: How Populist Governments (Mis)Handle the Pandemic," Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 389-428, December.
    7. Oliver Kovacs, 2022. "Inclusive Industry 4.0 in Europe—Japanese Lessons on Socially Responsible Industry 4.0," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 11(1), pages 1-26, January.
    8. Ajzenman, N. & Cavalcanti, T. & Da Mata, D., 2020. "More than Words: Leaders' Speech and Risky Behavior During a Pandemic," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2034, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Eugenio Levi & Isabelle Sin & Steven Stillman, 2021. "Understanding the Origins of Populist Political Parties and the Role of External Shocks," Working Papers 21_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    10. Frédéric Docquier & Lucas Guichard & Stefano Iandolo & Hillel Rapoport & Riccardo Turati & Gonzague Vannoorenberghe, 2022. "Populism and the Skill-Content of Globalization: Evidence from the Last 60 Years," CESifo Working Paper Series 10068, CESifo.
    11. Hartwell, Christopher A. & Devinney, Timothy, 2021. "Populism, political risk, and pandemics: The challenges of political leadership for business in a post-COVID world," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(4).
    12. Martonosi, Susan E. & Behzad, Banafsheh & Cummings, Kayla, 2021. "Pricing the COVID-19 vaccine: A mathematical approach," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    13. Hensmans, Manuel, 2021. "Exploring the dark and bright sides of Internet democracy: Ethos-reversing and ethos-renewing digital transformation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
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    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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