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Populist Manipulation or Personal Beliefs? A Study of the Divergent Perceptions of the Social Order in Switzerland


  • Aurelien Abrassart

    (University of Bern)

  • Stefan C. Wolter

    (University of Bern, Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education, CESifo & IZA)


Because of an important consistency in the prestige ratings of occupations from respondents across various social groups, countries and over time, the roots of divergent perceptions of the social order have attracted little attention. Yet structural changes in modern economies, brought by rapid globalization and technological change, and the rise of populism might have triggered a growing contestation of the foundations of the social order. We contribute to this important question by analyzing a unique data set in Switzerland based on a survey of adults' perception of the social prestige of occupations. As our results indicate, identification with major or minor right-wing populist parties does not significantly influence one's view of the social world. Rather, a radicalization of individual belief systems is the cause of the lower impact of the educational requirements and salience in autonomy of occupations on their perceived social prestige.

Suggested Citation

  • Aurelien Abrassart & Stefan C. Wolter, 2019. "Populist Manipulation or Personal Beliefs? A Study of the Divergent Perceptions of the Social Order in Switzerland," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0156, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0156

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    Autonomy; educational requirements; occupational prestige ranking; political radicalization; populism; social order;

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