Populism and Civil Society

43 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2018

See all articles by Tito Boeri

Tito Boeri

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Prachi Mishra

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Chris Papageorgiou

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department

Antonio Spilimbergo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2) does membership to associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer these questions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which has already a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is between 10 and 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership to trade unions has unclear effects.

Keywords: associations, democracy, Europe, Latin America, populist parties, voting

JEL Classification: P16

Suggested Citation

Boeri, Tito and Mishra, Prachi and Papageorgiou, Chris and Spilimbergo, Antonio, Populism and Civil Society (November 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13306. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283010

Tito Boeri (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Prachi Mishra

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. ( email )

85 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
United States

Chris Papageorgiou

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Antonio Spilimbergo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States
202-623-6346 (Phone)
202-623-6336 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute ( email )

724 E. University Ave.
Wyly Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States

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