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Department of Economics, in association with Trinity Research in Social Sciences (TRiSS)

  • Date: Tuesday 16th January 2018

  • Time: 12.30-2pm

  • Venue: TRISS Seminar Room, 6th Floor Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

Helios Herrera

The Department of Economics is pleased to invite you to a talk by:

Helios Herrera (University of Warwick)


Populism: Demand and Supply (joint with L. Guiso, M. Morelli and T. Sonno)


We define as "populist" a party that champions short-term protection policies while hiding their long-term costs by using anti-elite rhetoric to manipulate beliefs. Our framework rationalizes this definition and generates significant implications for people's support for populist platforms (the demand side), for the timing of the appearance of populist parties and their chosen orientation (the supply side) and also for the response of non-populist parties to the success of the populists (an equilibrium market reaction). Using individual data on voting in European countries, we show that key features of the demand for populism as well as its supply heavily depend on turnout incentives, previously neglected in the populism literature. Once turnout effects are taken into account, economic insecurity drives consensus to populist policies directly as well as through indirect negative effects on trust and attitudes towards immigrants. On the supply side, populist parties are more likely to emerge and prosper when countries are faced with a systemic crisis of economic security that incumbent parties (whether left-leaning, relying on government, or right-leaning, relying on markets) find hard to address, disappointing voters who lose faith in them and abstain. The orientation choice of populist parties, i.e., whether they arise on left or right of the political spectrum, is determined by the availability of political space. The typical non-populist policy response is to reduce the distance of their platform from that of new populist entrants, amplifying the aggregate supply of populist policies.

The authors invite you to read their full paper.