Populism and Civil Society

Author/Editor:

Tito Boeri ; Prachi Mishra ; Chris Papageorgiou ; Antonio Spilimbergo

Publication Date:

November 16, 2018

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.

Series:

Working Paper No. 18/245

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

November 16, 2018

ISBN/ISSN:

9781484382356/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2018245

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

42

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