Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism?
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15002
50 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020 Last revised: 16 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 2020
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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