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The wisdom of demagogues: institutions, corruption and support for authoritarian populists

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare D. Rohac
S. Kumar
Andreas Johansson Heinö
Publicerad i Economic Affairs
Volym 37
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 382-396
ISSN 0265-0665
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Sidor 382-396
Språk English
Länkar doi.org/10.1111/ecaf.12264
Ämnesord corruption, European politics, populism, voting, western-europe, extreme-right, parties, trust, attitudes, belgium, success, Business & Economics
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap, Ekonomi och näringsliv

Sammanfattning

This article analyses the drivers of support for authoritarian populist parties in Europe. Such parties claim to represent the interests of ordinary people against greedy and out-of-touch elites. Simultaneously, they reject conventional constraints on democratic policymaking. In recent years, such parties on the political left and right have been gaining influence in countries across Europe. Using a panel data set from 1980-2016, we use semiparametric Tobit models with country fixed effects to explain support for authoritarian populists. We find that large vote shares of right-wing - but not left-wing - authoritarian populists are associated closely to corruption. Other commonly cited explanations such as unemployment, inequality and immigration perform poorly in predicting support for populist political platforms on the political right. While a full theoretical explanation of the link between corruption and right-wing populism remains beyond the scope of this article, we suggest that the mechanism involves political trust. Corruption weakens trust in political institutions, which populists exploit. Curbing the rise of right-wing authoritarian populism in Europe will thus require restoring trust in the integrity of politics.

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