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Seminar on the State and Capitalism since 1800

Populism as a Reaction to Local Disruption: Evidence from European Municipalities


November 15, 2019
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
November 15, 2019
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall

** Please note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**

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This paper argues that demographic disruptions to local communities play an important role in mobilizing populist party identification. Citizens with aversion to rapid change are likely to self-select into peripheral areas. Yet, in the wake of free-movement agreements and shifts in local labor demand, these formerly isolated communities are experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration. These tangible changes to local conditions validate populist narratives and generate representational gaps that weaken ties to mainstream parties. To test the argument, the speaker draws on municipal-level data from seven European countries, and fields a four-wave panel survey of small German municipalities during the refugee crisis. The results demonstrate that populist party identification is elevated in formerly homogeneous localities, affected by policy-induced demographic change.

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