Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right

By: Walter Bossert (CIREQ – Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, University of Montreal – University of Montreal); Andrew E. Clark (PSE – Paris School of Economics, PJSE – Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques – UP1 – Université Panthéon-Sorbonne – ENS Paris – École normale supérieure – Paris – INRA – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – EHESS – École des hautes études en sciences sociales – ENPC – École des Ponts ParisTech – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Conchita d’Ambrosio (INSIDE – INtegrative research unit on Social and Individual DEvelopment – University of Luxembourg [Luxembourg]); Anthony Lepinteur (INSIDE – INtegrative research unit on Social and Individual DEvelopment – University of Luxembourg [Luxembourg])
Abstract: Economic insecurity has attracted growing attention in social, academic and policy cir- cles. However, there is no consensus as to its precise de_nition. Intuitively, economic insecurity is multi-faceted, making any comprehensive formal de_nition that subsumes all possible aspects extremely challenging. We propose a simpli_ed approach, and character- ize a class of individual economic-insecurity measures that are based on the time pro_le of economic resources. We then apply our economic-insecurity measure to data on political preferences. In US, UK and German panel data, and conditional on current economic resources, economic insecurity is associated with both greater political participation (sup- port for a party or the intention to vote) and notably more support for parties on the right of the political spectrum. We in particular _nd that economic insecurity predicts greater support for both Donald Trump before the 2016 US Presidential election and the UK leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Keywords: Economic index numbers,Insecurity,Political participation,Conservatism,Right-leaning political parties,Trump,Brexit

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