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Demand and Supply of Populism


  • Luigi Guiso

    (EIEF and CEPR)

  • Helios Herrera

    (Warwick University)

  • Massimo Morelli

    (Bocconi University and CEPR)

  • Tommaso Sonno

    (Université Catholique de Louvain)


We define as populist a party that champions short-term protection policies without regard for their long-term costs. First, we study the demand for populism: we analyze the drivers of the populist vote using individual level data from multiple waves of surveys in Europe. Individual voting preferences are infl uenced directly by different measures of economic insecurity and by the decline in trust in traditional parties. However, economic shocks that undermine voters' security and trust in parties also discourage voter turnout, thus mitigating the estimated demand of populism when ignoring this turnout selection. Economic insecurity affects intentions to vote for populist parties and turnout incentives also indirectly because it causes trust in parties to fall. Second, we study the supply side: we find that populist parties are more likely to appear when the drivers of demand for populism accumulate, and more so in countries with weak checks and balances and with higher political fragmentation. The non-populist parties' policy response is to reduce the distance of their platform from that of new populist entrants, thereby magnifying the aggregate supply of populist policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Guiso & Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Tommaso Sonno, 2017. "Demand and Supply of Populism," EIEF Working Papers Series 1703, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1703

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon Hanson & Kaveh Majlesi, 2016. "Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure," NBER Working Papers 22637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Maxim Ananiev, 2015. "Effect of Income on Trust: Evidence from the 2009 Crisis in Russia," Sciences Po publications 2015-02, Sciences Po.
    3. Sascha O Becker & Thiemo Fetzer & Dennis Novy, 2017. "Who voted for Brexit? A comprehensive district-level analysis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(92), pages 601-650.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:110:y:2016:i:02:p:397-410_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:cup:intorg:v:71:y:2017:i:03:p:423-457_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jensen, J. Bradford & Quinn, Dennis P. & Weymouth, Stephen, 2017. "Winners and Losers in International Trade: The Effects on US Presidential Voting," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 423-457, June.
    7. Italo Colantone & Piero Stanig, 2016. "Global Competition and Brexit," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1644, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What explains the rise of populism?
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2017-08-14 19:47:55


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    Cited by:

    1. Aggeborn, Linuz & Persson, Lovisa, 2017. "Public Finance and Right-Wing Populism," Working Paper Series 1182, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Raicho Bojilov & Jonas A. Gunnarsson & Gylfi Zoega, 2017. "East versus West on the European Populism Scale," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1707, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.

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