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Economic growth and the rise of political extremism: theory and evidence


  • Brückner, Markus
  • Grüner, Hans Peter


In many western democracies, political parties with extreme platforms challenge more moderate incumbents. This paper analyses the impact of economic growth on the support for extreme political platforms. We provide a theoretical argument in favor of growth effects (as opposed to level effects) on the support for extremist parties and we empirically investigate the relationship between growth and extremist votes. A lower growth rate increases the support for extreme political platforms but our estimates also indicate that extreme platforms are unlikely to gain majorities in OECD countries, unless there is an extreme drop in the GDP per capita growth rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Brückner, Markus & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2010. "Economic growth and the rise of political extremism: theory and evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7723

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:53:y:1959:i:01:p:69-105_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan de Bromhead & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2012. "Right-Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 17871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Friedrichsen, Jana & Zahn, Philipp, 2014. "Political support in hard times: Do people care about national welfare?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 23-37.

    More about this item


    Economic Growth; Political Regimes;

    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


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