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Department Seminar: Massimo MORELLI (Bocconi University)

Abstract :

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 influenced "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 estimate of populism when ignoring this turnout selection. Economic insecurity affects
voting to populist parties and turnout 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 the one of new populist entrants, thereby magnifying the aggregate
supply of populist policies.

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