Never Forget the First Time: The Persistent Effects of Corruption and the Rise of Populism in Italy
67 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2018 Last revised: 25 Jun 2019
Date Written: November 1, 2018
The paper studies the long term impact of corruption on trust towards institutions. Previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to corruption may lower institutional trust in the short run. Whether those short term effects translate into a persistent effect is not known. We study the onset of a corruption shock that took place in Italy between 1992 and 1994. Using recent data from the Trustlab project, coordinated by the OECD, we find that young first time voters exposed to the corruption scandal still today, 25 years later, exert significantly lower institutional trust. A follow up survey reveals that their exposure to corruption also affected their current voting preferences. In particular, those young first time voters exposed to the corruption were more likely to prefer populist parties at the 2018 national elections.
Keywords: Corruption, Institutional trust, Populism, First-time voter, Italy
JEL Classification: P16, D72, D73
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation