Populism: Demand and Supply

64 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2017 Last revised: 3 Dec 2018

See all articles by Luigi Guiso

Luigi Guiso

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Helios Herrera

University of Warwick

Massimo Morelli

Bocconi University

Tommaso Sonno

University of Bologna; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Date Written: February 2017


Using individual data on voting and political parties manifestos in European countries, we study the drivers of voting for populist parties (the demand side) as well as the presence of populist parties (the supply side). We show that economic insecurity drives the demand for populism when considering the key interactions with turnout incentives, neglected in previous studies. Economic insecurity drives consensus to populist policies directly and indirectly by causally destroying trust in politics and fostering adverse attitudes towards immigrants. On the supply side, populist parties emerge more likely when countries are faced with a systemic crisis of economic security. The orientation choice of populist parties, i.e., whether they arise on left or right of the political spectrum, is determined by the availability of political space. Mainstream parties response is to reduce the distance of their platform from that of successful populist entrants, amplifying the aggregate supply of populist policies.

Keywords: anti-elite rhetoric, economic insecurity, populism, Voter participation

Suggested Citation

Guiso, Luigi and Herrera, Helios and Morelli, Massimo and Sonno, Tommaso, Populism: Demand and Supply (February 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11871, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2924731

Luigi Guiso (Contact Author)

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Sallustiana 62
Rome, 00187
+39 06 4792 4858 (Phone)
+39 06 4792 4872 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eief.it/faculty-visitors/faculty-a-z/luigi-guiso/

Helios Herrera

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Massimo Morelli

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136

Tommaso Sonno

University of Bologna ( email )


London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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