Economic Insecurity and the Demand of Populism in Europe

Number: 704
Year: 2023
Author(s): Massimo Morelli, Luigi Guiso, Helios Herrera, Tommaso Sonno

We document the spiral of populism in Europe and the direct and indirect role of economic insecurity shocks. Using survey data on individual voting, we make two contributions to the literature, namely: (1) Economic insecurity shocks have a significant impact on the populist vote share, directly as demand for protection, and
indirectly through the induced changes in trust and attitudes; (2) A key consequence of increased economic insecurity is a drop in turnout. The impact of this largely neglected turnout effect is substantial: conditional on voting, when economic insecurity increases almost 40% of the induced change in the vote for a populist party comes from the turnout channel.

Keywords: turnout, trust in politics, voter sentiments