Michele Cantarella, Nicolò Fraccaroli, Roberto Volpe, 11 July 2019

'Fake news' has undeniably been biased in favour of populist or anti-establishment parties. As politically charged misinformation has been proliferating online, it is no wonder that many have been questioning whether the spread of fake news has affected the results of recent elections, contributing to the growth of populist party platforms. This column examines evidence from a natural experiment occurring in Italy and discusses how fake news might have played a less than obvious role in influencing political preferences during the general elections of 2018.

Clemens Fuest, 04 June 2019

Marco Tabellini, 25 May 2019

Recent waves of immigration in the US and Europe have triggered debate around the economic and political impact. This column uses evidence from migration of Europeans to the US in the first half of the 20th century to show that large cultural differences can incite anti-immigrant sentiment despite their positive economic impact. Therefore, policymakers should give due attention to cultural assimilation and cohesion policies.

André Sapir, 24 May 2019

André Sapir discusses how Europe's institutions can reconnect with its citizens and the benefits this can bring.

Hélène Rey, 10 May 2019

Hélène Rey of London Business School and CEPR discusses economic challenges for Europe.

Karl Aiginger, 20 April 2019

Populism represents a challenge to liberal democracy, pluralism, human rights, and the exchange of ideas. This column examines the features and drivers of populism, as well as the potential strategic response by the EU and its member states. This includes a vision for Europe to become the role model for high-income societies providing well-being, lower unemployment, and less inequality, and a leader in decarbonisation and public sector management.

Mathieu Couttenier, Sophie Hatte, Mathias Thoenig, Stephanos Vlachos, 02 April 2019

Populists often claim that immigration is a threat to the interests of the majority. This column quantifies the extent to which the media coverage of immigrant crime fuelled populist political support in a Swiss referendum. It finds that disproportionate coverage of immigrant crime increased an anti-minaret vote by 5%.

Sebastian Doerr, José-Luis Peydró, Hans-Joachim Voth, 15 March 2019

Polarised politics in the wake of financial crises echo throughout modern history, but evidence of a causal link between economic downturns and populism is limited. This column shows that financial crisis-induced misery boosted far right-wing voting in interwar Germany. In towns and cities where many firms were exposed to failing banks, Nazi votes surged. In particular, places exposed to the one bank led by a Jewish chairman registered particularly strong increases of support – scapegoating Jews was easier with seemingly damning evidence of their negative influence.  

Gilles Saint-Paul, 07 March 2019

Macroeconomic populism typically leads to higher levels of public debt, public spending, deficits, and crises. Nevertheless, this column argues that it is rational for groups of voters to vote for a populist who reflects their interests, because they will be favoured when a fiscal adjustment occurs. The greater the fiscal adjustment required, the more likely voters are to elect a populist who will discriminate between groups. 

Tito Boeri, Prachi Mishra, Chris Papageorgiou, Antonio Spilimbergo, 11 January 2019

The claim by populist leaders to have a monopoly on representing ‘the people’ stands in contrast with the concept of liberal democracy, which is based on pluralism where different groups represent different interests and values. Using data from several waves of the European Social Survey, this column demonstrates that individuals who belong to associations are less likely to vote for populist parties. Alexis de Tocqueville appears to have been right when he wrote almost two centuries ago that civil society is a key defence of liberal democracy.

Ian Goldin, Benjamin Nabarro, 24 October 2018

Anti-migration sentiment has been rising across Europe. This column shows that the economic impact of migration is positive, but depends almost entirely on the policies implemented to ensure that migrants can be productive and the extent to which the positive economic consequences of migration are distributed across individuals. Unless the rhetoric of a perceived cultural and economic threat posed by migrants is countered effectively, economies stand to lose out substantially from the implementation of anti-immigration policies.

Lubos Pastor, Pietro Veronesi, 28 September 2018

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalisation – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalisation in a democratic society that values equality.

Yann Algan, Elizabeth Beasley, Daniel Cohen , Martial Foucault, 07 September 2018

The 2017 French presidential election is but one example of the move away from the traditional left-right political axis. This column argues that subjective variables are key to understanding this shift. Votes on the traditional left-right axis are correlated with views on redistribution and predicted by socioeconomic variables such as income and social status. Votes in the 2017 election in France, however, appear to have been driven by individual and subjective variables, with low well-being associated with ‘anti-system’ opinions (on the left or the right) and low interpersonal trust associated with right-wing populism.

Alberto Alesina, Armando Miano, Stefanie Stantcheva, 31 July 2018

The debate on immigration is often based on misperceptions about the number and character of immigrants. The column uses data from surveys in six countries to show that such misperceptions are striking and widespread. The column also describes how an experiment in which people were encouraged think about their perception of immigrants made them more averse to redistribution in general, suggesting that the focus on immigration in the political debate – without correcting the misperceptions respondents have about immigrants – could have the unintended consequence of reducing support for redistribution.

Joan Rosés, Nikolaus Wolf, 20 July 2018

Inequality between Europe's regions has risen in the last few decades. Joan Rosés and Nikolaus Wolf discuss their research on inequality at both the personal and regional levels across Europe in the last century. Rising regional inequality is one factor behind the growing populism in Europe.

Luigi Guiso, Helios Herrera, Massimo Morelli, Tommaso Sonno, 18 May 2018

There has been some disagreement over the roots of the recent rise of populism in Europe. This column examines variations in exposure to economic shocks and in ability to react to them in different regions of Europe to show that the cultural backlash against globalisation has been driven by economic woes. In regions where globalisation was present but that have benefited economically, there has been no such backlash and the populist message has retreated. The message is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

Adrian Wood, 25 April 2018

Two decades ago, the economics profession concluded that trade with developing countries was not seriously hurting unskilled workers in developed countries. This column argues that the debate from which that consensus emerged came to an end prematurely. Even now, the evidence does not permit any firm conclusion about the contribution of globalisation to the economic misfortunes of less-educated people in developed countries. Had there been less consensus among economists, more might have been done, sooner, to mitigate the social costs of globalisation.

Joan Rosés, Nikolaus Wolf, 14 March 2018

A recent literature has explored growing personal wealth inequality in countries around the world. This column explores the widening wealth gap between regions and across states in Europe. Using data going back to 1900, it shows that regional convergence ended around 1980 and the gap has been growing since then, with capital regions and declining industrial regions at the two extremes. This rise in regional inequality, combined with rising personal inequality, has played a significant role in the recent populist backlash.

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 06 February 2018

Persistent poverty, economic decay and lack of opportunities cause discontent in declining regions, while policymakers reason that successful agglomeration economies drive economic dynamism, and that regeneration has failed. This column argues that this disconnect has led many of these ‘places that don’t matter’ to revolt in a wave of political populism with strong territorial, rather than social, foundations. Better territorial development policies are needed that tap potential and provide opportunities to those people living in the places that ‘don’t matter’.

Yann Algan, Sergei Guriev, Elias Papaioannou, Evgenia Passari, 12 December 2017

A wave of populism has been gaining ground in the West since 2012. This column uses regional data for 26 European countries to explore how the impact of the Great Recession on labour markets has affected populist voting, political attitudes, and trust. The results indicate a strong link between unemployment and voting for non-mainstream (especially populist) parties. Unemployment is also correlated with increasing distrust of national and European parliaments.

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Events

  • 17 - 18 August 2019 / Peking University, Beijing / Chinese University of Hong Kong – Tsinghua University Joint Research Center for Chinese Economy, the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development at Stanford University, the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, BREAD, NBER and CEPR
  • 19 - 20 August 2019 / Vienna, Palais Coburg / WU Research Institute for Capital Markets (ISK)
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  • 9 - 14 September 2019 / Guildford, Surrey, UK / The University of Surrey

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