Income Misperception and Populism

Posted: 16 Nov 2022

See all articles by Thilo Albers

Thilo Albers

Humboldt University of Berlin

Felix Kersting

Humboldt University of Berlin

Fabian Kosse

University of Würzburg

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

We propose that false beliefs about the own current economic status are an important factor for explaining populist attitudes. Along with the subjects’ receptiveness to right-wing populism, we elicit their perceived relative income positions in a representative survey of German households. We find that people with pessimistic beliefs about their income position are more attuned to populist statements. Key to understanding the misperception-populism relationship are strong gender differences in the mechanism: Misperception triggers income dissatisfaction for both men and women, but the former are much more likely to channel their discontent into affection for populist ideas.

Keywords: perception, income, populism

JEL Classification: D630, D720, D910, P160

Suggested Citation

Albers, Thilo and Kersting, Felix and Kosse, Fabian, Income Misperception and Populism (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 10059, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4273433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4273433

Thilo Albers (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

Felix Kersting

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

Fabian Kosse

University of Würzburg ( email )

Sanderring 2
Würzburg, D-97070
Germany

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