Rachael Kei Kawasaki, Yuichi Ikeda, 11 February 2022

Attitudes towards immigrants have become a crucial topic in policy and politics. This column uses tools from network science to identify and compare determinants of attitudes toward immigrants from a global perspective. It finds that prejudice is a common determinant of negative attitudes across all regions, especially towards people of another race. Furthermore, individuals in European countries display a more values-based approach towards determining attitudes, compared to non-European contexts. These results imply that successful communication by policymakers on the topic of immigration should account for region-specific cultural and socio-political factors. 

Kent Jones, 19 January 2022

Around the world, populism has weaponised anxieties over globalisation and other forms of social change. This column argues that populist trade policies have damaged the global trading system through protectionist policies themselves and by undermining the rules and norms of the WTO. The author suggests that the Trump administration’s national security tariffs and Brexit have inflicted the greatest populist damage on trade rules and trade integration so far and that economic and institutional reforms will be necessary to break the populist influence on trade policy.

Moritz Schularick, 21 December 2021

Today, one in four nations is governed by a populist. What will this mean for their economies? Moritz Schularick explains that a century of data suggests that the economic and institutional cost of populism is high and long-lasting.

Ilan Goldfajn, Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 20 December 2021

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Latin America highlighted the challenge of long-standing fiscal and social deficits in a context of overstretched public sector resources. And it deepened a growing discontent with the economic status quo and the political system. A new CEPR eBook collects a series of conversations with distinguished Latin American researchers and policymakers aimed at trying to map a possible future for Latin America, with a focus on avoiding the next crisis, policies for sustainable growth, social challenges, and the future of democracy.  

Sebastian Stöckl, Martin Rode, 30 November 2021

Financial markets have shown contradictory reactions to the formation of populist administrations. This column, part of the Vox debate on populism, examines whether there is any systematic reason behind the radically different outcomes, using data for 331 elections in 41 EU and OECD countries. The immediate uncertainty introduced into financial markets by an increase in populist vote shares varies according to the populist host ideology. Markets are mostly suspicious of left-wing populism but view the electoral success of right-wing populist parties as unequivocally favourable, possibly because of the tendency for the political and economic elite to collude.

Italo Colantone, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Piero Stanig, 01 November 2021

As populist parties have surged across advanced democracies so, it seems, has a ‘globalisation backlash’. This column provides descriptive evidence on the backlash, discusses its theoretical underpinnings within standard trade models, and reviews the evidence on its drivers. It appears that globalisation is at stake partly due to reasons that are not strictly related to trade. The political sustainability of globalisation – and arguably of the international liberal order – will depend on how successful societies are at managing in a more inclusive way the distributional consequences of structural change.

Antonio Spilimbergo, 13 July 2021

Many analysts expected Covid-19 to expose the contradictions of ‘populist’ politicians and cited various reasons for this, including short-sightedness, the lack of trust often associated with populist sentiments, unhelpful populist narratives, and a resistance to international cooperation. This column argues that there is no clear evidence that its handling of the pandemic has ‘killed’ populism. In fact, the pandemic crisis has spawned new political issues which, if left unaddressed by traditional parties, may rekindle the growth of the populist ideology once again. 

Thomas Lambert, Enrico Perotti, Magdalena Rola-Janicka, 06 July 2021

Political considerations have become important in finance research, with significant implications for policymaking. This column summarises new research presented at the CEPR conference on the Political Economy of Finance, including work on opaque investments in political influence, electoral impact of credit and regulation, the role of institutional complexity in shaping reforms and incentives of central bankers. The conference kickstarted the PolEconFin initiative aimed at providing a meeting point for researchers in this topical area.

Antonio Spilimbergo, 11 June 2021

Latin America has a long history of populist government. New research by Antonio Spilimbergo quantifies the consequences of populism for the region's institutions and economies. 

Luca Bellodi, Massimo Morelli, Matia Vannoni, 07 April 2021

Populism is once more becoming a dominant feature of the political landscape in many countries, but little is known about its consequences for the quality of government. Using Italian municipal-level data, this column shows that populism has a negative impact on bureaucratic expertise and government performance, ultimately to the detriment of society and the economy. 

Bruno Caprettini, Lorenzo Casaburi, Miriam Venturini, 01 April 2021

In the aftermath of World War II, the 1950 Italian land reform expropriated wealthy landowners and redistributed their land among rural workers, with substantial and long-lasting electoral rewards for the initiating Christian Democratic Party. The electoral effects of the reform were visible even 40 years later, arguably because the reform strengthened local Christian Democratic grassroots organisations and because Christian Democratic governments continued to invest in reform towns. The episode offers insights into the persistence of the electoral benefits of redistribution.

Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, Christoph Trebesch, 16 February 2021

The rise of populism in the past two decades has motivated much work on its drivers, but less is known about its economic and political consequences. This column uses a comprehensive cross-country database on populism dating back to 1900 to offer a historical, long-run perspective. It shows that (1) populism has a long history and is serial in nature – if countries have been governed by a populist once, they are much more likely to see another populist coming to office in the future; (2) populist leadership is economically costly, with a notable long-run decline in consumption and output; and (3) populism is politically disruptive, fostering instability and institutional decay. The analysis suggests that populism is here to stay.

James Snyder, Hasin Yousaf, 28 November 2020

Holding large rallies is an especially important campaign activity for many populist leaders, including for Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential race. This column studies the effect of campaign rallies held by Democratic and Republican US presidential candidates since 2008, including Donald Trump. It explores the effect of rallies on citizens’ preferences over candidates, policy issues, and their intention to vote. Populist leaders may be particularly effective in gaining support via their campaign rallies, at least temporarily. Populist leaders’ success may depend on connecting with voters via rallies.

Daron Acemoğlu, Giuseppe De Feo, Giacomo De Luca, Gianluca Russo, 28 October 2020

Right-wing populist movements often come to power by exploiting people’s anxieties and fears. Following WWI, fascists in Italy likely exploited the perceived threat of socialism to gain support among the elite and the middle classes. This column explores the link between the threat of socialism and Mussolini’s rise to power and finds a strong association between the Red Scare in Italy and the subsequent local support for the Fascist Party in the early 1920s. Local elites, especially large landowners, played an important role in boosting Fascist Party activity and support.

Alex Imas, Kristóf Madarász, 22 August 2020

Protectionism, nationalism, left- and right-wing populism are on the rise all over the world. This column tests the premise that the value a person attaches to consuming an object or possessing an attribute increases in others' unmet excess desire for it, terming this behaviour as mimetic dominance seeking. On the basis of two experiments designed to provide direct evidence of this behaviour, it finds that mimetic dominance leads to a reluctance to trade and a direct preference for objects that become scarcer, with the latter generating a motive for exclusion.

Jean Lacroix, Pierre-Guillaume Méon, Kim Oosterlinck, 18 July 2020

Rising populism has raised concerns that democracies may give in to authoritarian pressure. On 10 July 1940, exactly 80 years ago, the French parliament passed an enabling act granting full power to Marshal Philippe Pétain. Analysing how the Members of Parliament voted, this column shows that MPs belonging to a pro-democratic dynasty were more likely to oppose the act. Dynastic politicians may contribute to stabilising democracies by better resisting peer pressure.

Thorsten Beck, Orkun Saka, Paolo Volpin, 10 July 2020

A rapidly expanding literature has shown the importance of political economy factors for legislative and regulatory actions in the financial sector and ultimately financial sector stability and efficiency. This column reports on recent research in this field, presented at the first London Political Finance, including work on financial fragility leading to the rise of right-wing extremist parties, private interests in financial regulation, financial gains from political connections, political beliefs and financial decisions and the role of media in financial decisions.  It lays out some of the important takeaways and suggests directions for further research that can shed light on the remaining issues.

Christian Kroll, 09 June 2020

Concerns are growing that the COVID-19 crisis could be exploited by populists claiming to be the voice of those who have been ‘left behind’. This column presents a new framework which could help shed light on the relationship between sustainable development and populism. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals may be associated with diminishing electoral support for populism, but humanity must still get better at turning the trade-offs between SDGs into synergies. During the COVID-19 recovery, an effective way to prevent populists from exploiting the crisis may involve making the SDGs the policy blueprint. 

Emeric Henry, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, Sergei Guriev, 21 May 2020

The most recent manifestations of populism owe a portion of their rise to social media and the unfettered spread of false and misleading narratives or, as they are sometimes called, ‘alternative facts’. This column makes use of an online experiment conducted among Facebook users in France during the 2019 European Parliament elections to show that fact-checking can staunch the flow of false information, as can the imposition of small costs such as requiring an additional click to confirm a user’s willingness to share news.

André Blais, Damien Bol, Marco Giani, Peter John Loewen, 07 May 2020

Major crises can act as catalysts – either destabilising or strengthening the political regimes that oversee them, depending on how citizens view their government’s performance. This column analyses a cross-country survey in Western Europe during March and April, a period that saw many of these governments enforce lockdowns in response to COVID-19. It finds a rally effect: individuals who took the survey immediately after lockdowns showed more support for incumbents and for democratic institutions than those who took it before.

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