DP15002 Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism?

Author(s): Dani Rodrik
Publication Date: July 2020
Keyword(s):
JEL(s):
Programme Areas: Public Economics, International Trade and Regional Economics, International Macroeconomics and Finance
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15002

There is compelling evidence that globalization shocks, often working through culture and identity, have played an important role in driving up support for populist movements, particularly of the right-wing kind. I start with an empirical analysis of the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. to show globalization-related attitudinal variables were important correlates of the switch to Trump. I then provide a conceptual framework that identifies four distinct channels through which globalization can stimulate populism, two each on the demand and supply sides of politics, respectively. I evaluate the empirical literature with the help of this framework, discussing trade, financial globalization, and immigration separately. I conclude the paper by discussing some apparently anomalous cases where populists have been against, rather than in favor of trade protection.