The Political Economy of Populism

121 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2020 Last revised: 21 Nov 2020

See all articles by Sergei Guriev

Sergei Guriev

Sciences Po; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Elias Papaioannou

London Business School

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Date Written: February 21, 2020


We synthesize the literature on the recent rise of populism. First, we discuss definitions and present descriptive evidence on recent increase in support for populists. Second, we cover the historical evolution of populist regimes since the late 19th century. Third, we discuss the role of secular economic factors related to cross-border trade and automation. Fourth, we review studies on the role of the 2008{2009 global financial crisis and subsequent austerity, connect them to historical work covering the Great Depression, and discuss likely mechanisms. Fifth, we discuss studies on identity politics, trust, and cultural backlash. Sixth, we discuss economic and cultural consequences of growth in immigration and the recent refugee crisis. We also discuss the gap between perceptions and reality regarding immigration. Seventh, we review studies on the impact of the internet and social media. Eighth, we discuss works on the implications of populism's recent rise. Finally, we outline avenues for further research.

Suggested Citation

Guriev, Sergei and Papaioannou, Elias, The Political Economy of Populism (February 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Sergei Guriev (Contact Author)

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Elias Papaioannou

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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