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Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right

Author

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  • Walter Bossert
  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Conchita D'Ambrosio
  • Anthony Lepinteur

Abstract

Economic insecurity has attracted growing attention in social, academic and policy circles. However, there is no consensus as to its precise definition. Intuitively, economic insecurity is multi-faceted, making any comprehensive formal definition that subsumes all possible aspects extremely challenging. We propose a simplified approach, and characterize a class of individual economic-insecurity measures that are based on the time profile of economic resources. We then apply our economic-insecurity measure to data on political preferences. In US, UK and German panel data, and conditional on current economic resources, economic insecurity is associated with both greater political participation (support for a party or the intention to vote) and notably more support for parties on the right of the political spectrum. We in particular find that economic insecurity predicts greater support for both Donald Trump before the 2016 US Presidential election and the UK leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Suggested Citation

  • Walter Bossert & Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Anthony Lepinteur, 2019. "Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right," CEP Discussion Papers dp1659, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. José G. Montalvo, 2011. "Voting after the Bombings: A Natural Experiment on the Effect of Terrorist Attacks on Democratic Elections," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1146-1154, November.
    2. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
    3. Andrew Sharpe & Lars Osberg, 2009. "New Estimates of the Index of Economic Well-being for Selected OECD Countries, 1981 - 2007," CSLS Research Reports 2009-11, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    4. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, K.K. & Osberg, Lars & Rao, Prasada, 2016. "The effect of economic insecurity on mental health: Recent evidence from Australian panel data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 250-258.
    5. Nattavudh Powdthavee & Anke C. Plagnol & Paul Frijters & Andrew E. Clark, 2019. "Who Got the Brexit Blues? The Effect of Brexit on Subjective Wellbeing in the UK," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 86(343), pages 471-494, July.
    6. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic index numbers; Insecurity; Political participation; Conservatism; Right-leaning political parties; Trump; Brexit;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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