Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism? Economics, Culture, and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism

49 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

There is compelling evidence that globalization shocks, often working through culture and identity, have played an important role in driving up support for populist movements, particularly of the right-wing kind. I start with an empirical analysis of the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. to show globalization-related attitudinal variables were important correlates of the switch to Trump. I then provide a conceptual framework that identifies four distinct channels through which globalization can stimulate populism, two each on the demand and supply sides of politics, respectively. I evaluate the empirical literature with the help of this framework, discussing trade, financial globalization, and immigration separately. I conclude the paper by discussing some apparently anomalous cases where populists have been against, rather than in favor of trade protection.

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Suggested Citation

Rodrik, Dani, Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism? Economics, Culture, and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism (July 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27526, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3649890

Dani Rodrik (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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