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Past Exposure to Macroeconomic Shocks and Populist Attitudes in Europe

Gavresi, Despina and Litina, Anastasia (2021): Past Exposure to Macroeconomic Shocks and Populist Attitudes in Europe.

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This paper explores the interplay between past exposure to macroeconomic shocks and pop-ulist attitudes. We document that individuals who experienced a macroeconomic shock during their impressionable years (between 18 and 25 years of age), are currently more proneto voting for populist parties, and manifest lower trust both in national and European institutions. We use data from the European Social Survey (ESS) to construct the differentialindividual exposure to macroeconomic shocks during impressionable years. Our findings sug-gest that it is not only current exposure to shocks that matters (see e.g., Guiso et al. (2020))but also past exposure to economic recessions, which has a persistent positive effect on therise of populism. Interestingly, the interplay between the two, i.e., past and current exposure to economic shocks, has a mitigating effect on the rise of populism. Individuals who wereexposed to economic shocks in the past are less likely to manifest populist attitudes whenfaced with a current crisis, as suggested by the experience-based learning literature.

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