Inequality Aversion, Populism, and the Backlash Against Globalization

55 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018 Last revised: 20 May 2020

See all articles by Lubos Pastor

Lubos Pastor

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Pietro Veronesi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 18, 2020

Abstract

Motivated by the recent rise of populism in western democracies, we develop a tractable equilibrium model in which a populist backlash emerges endogenously in a strong economy. In the model, voters dislike inequality, especially the high consumption of ``elites." Economic growth exacerbates inequality due to heterogeneity in preferences, which generates heterogeneity in returns on capital. In response to rising inequality, rich-country voters optimally elect a populist promising to end globalization. Equality is a luxury good. Countries with more inequality, higher financial development, and trade deficits are more vulnerable to populism, both in the model and in the data.

Keywords: inequality, populism, globalization, Brexit, Trump

JEL Classification: G11, G12, G18, D72, F65, P16

Suggested Citation

Pastor, Lubos and Veronesi, Pietro, Inequality Aversion, Populism, and the Backlash Against Globalization (May 18, 2020). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 20-11, Fama-Miller Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3224232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3224232

Lubos Pastor (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Pietro Veronesi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-6348 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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