Populism and Social Polarization in European Democracies

25 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020

See all articles by Victor Ginsburgh

Victor Ginsburgh

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Sergio Perelman

University of Liège - Department of Economics

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liège - Research Center on Public and Population Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to explain populist attitudes that are prevailing in a number of European democracies. Populist attitudes expectedly lead to social protests and populist votes. We capture the populist wave by relying not on voting behavior but rather on values that are traditionally viewed as populist values, such as distrust of institutions and neighbors, rejection of migrations and strong preferences for law and order. Our study covers the period 2004 to 2018 and 25 European countries for which we match aggregated indicators of populist values and social polarization computed from ESS and SILC survey micro-data, respectively. We find that social polarization, along with other factors, can explain populist attitudes. We also observe that both populist attitudes and polarization vary across countries much more than over time, with the exception of authoritarian values which appear positively correlated with social polarization, particularly among baby-boomers and younger cohorts.

Keywords: populism, polarization, social divide

JEL Classification: D630, I300

Suggested Citation

Ginsburgh, Victor and Perelman, Sergio and Pestieau, Pierre, Populism and Social Polarization in European Democracies (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8458, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3671243 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3671243

Victor Ginsburgh (Contact Author)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Sergio Perelman

University of Liège - Department of Economics ( email )

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Batiment B31
4000 Liege
Belgium
+32 4 156 3098 (Phone)
+32 4 156 2958 (Fax)

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liège - Research Center on Public and Population Economics ( email )

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Sart-Tilman
B-4000 Liege, 4000
Belgium
+32 4 366 3108 (Phone)
+32 4 366 3106 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

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Louvain la Neuve
Belgium

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