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  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The progressive camp in Israel has been trying for years to find its way back to the corridors of power and influence, so far unsuccessfully. Those seeking strategies and tactics for change often wonder whether the solution to Israel’s problems will emerge from without, for example driven by international pressure, or from within, by convincing and mobilizing the Israeli public. A third option to this dichotomy has emerged in recent years in the shape of combined and coordinated moves both within Israeli society and in cooperation with allies abroad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Nationalism, Politics, Partnerships, Populism, Progressivism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Andrew Weiss
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Populism, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy, Austria
  • Author: Frank Graves, Jeff Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada has not been left untouched by a new authoritarian, or ordered, populism that has seen the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union. Based on measurements of public opinion and other means developed to assess the phenomenon, this paper finds that populism in Canada is a significant political force, replacing the traditional left-right political spectrum. Not only has northern populism created a heightened partisan polarization in Canada, but it also proved to be a strong predictor of the outcome of the 2019 federal election. The authors’ research shows that 34 per cent of Canadians maintain a populist outlook. Older, less-educated, working-class Canadians are the most likely to sympathize with ordered populism, and it is more prevalent in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is also more closely aligned with Canadians whose political sympathies lie with conservative political parties. A number of factors have contributed to the rise of ordered populism. These include economic stagnation, the growing disparity between the wealthy and the middle and working classes, a sense that society is headed in the wrong direction and a backlash against the loss of traditional core values. Ordered populism rests on the belief in a corrupt elite, and the idea that power needs to be wrested from this elite and returned to the people. Oriented toward authoritarianism, ordered populism emphasizes obedience, hostility toward outgroups, a desire to turn back the clock to a time of greater order in society, and a search for a strongman type to lead the return to a better time. Nothing about ordered populism serves the public interest. Instead, its anti-democratic nature makes it incapable of solving the problems that spawned its rise in the first place. Ordered populism is xenophobic, mistrustful of science and journalism, and unsympathetic to equality and gender issues. Arising out of fear and anger, ordered populism is ultimately unhealthy for Western democracies and their societies and economies. Canada has yet to accord the rise of ordered populism the attention it deserves, although this paper explains why it is a critical force in this country that needs to be addressed. Currently, attitudes toward ordered populism are generally limited to sneering, derisiveness and denial, all of which do nothing to address the problem. Solving it requires understanding its roots. And if its origins lie in the collapse of the middle-class dream, then policy-makers will need to focus on creating a new economics of hope. Ordered populism is at the heart of stark divisions in Canada, and the 2019 federal election did little, if anything, to mend the rupture. Dissatisfaction with the election’s results could forecast an even worse polarization in the near future, and increase the appeal of authoritarianism, if populism is left unaddressed.
  • Topic: Politics, Authoritarianism, Elections, Populism, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Populism at the country level is at an all-time high, with more than 25% of nations currently governed by populists. How do economies perform under populist leaders? We build a new cross-country database identifying 50 populist presidents and prime ministers 1900-2018. We find that the economic cost of populism is high. After 15 years, GDP per capita is more than 10% lower compared to a plausible non-populist counterfactual. Rising economic nationalism and protectionism, unsustainable macroeconomic policies, and institutional decay under populist rule do lasting damage to the economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Nationalism, Populism, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monica de Bolle, Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, the platforms of major political parties in both advanced and emerging-market economies have increasingly emphasized policies that stress national sovereignty, reject multilateralism, and seek to advance national interests through measures that come at the expense of foreign interests. This paper documents this shift by evaluating the policy platforms of the largest political parties (about 55 in total) in the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries with regard to trade policy, foreign direct investment (FDI), immigration, and multilateral organizations. Preference shifts with respect to industrial policy, competition policy, and macroeconomic populism are also examined. In advanced economies, the biggest shifts were toward restrictions on immigration and trade and toward macroeconomic populism. In emerging-market economies, the largest preference shifts were toward industrial policies favoring specific sectors, macroeconomic populism, and industrial concentration. Trade protectionism and skepticism toward multilateral organizations and agreements have increased in both advanced and emerging-market economies. As of 2018, economic policy preferences in emerging-market economies were more nationalist and less liberal than in advanced countries, but the gap has narrowed. Right-wing parties tend to be more nationalist than left-wing parties in the areas of immigration restrictions, FDI restrictions, and antimultilateralism, but there is no significant difference with respect to trade protectionism.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism, Politics, Populism, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marco Siddi, Barbara Gaweda
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Poland’s incumbent party Law and Justice seems poised to win the election thanks to its welfare policies and the weakness of the opposition. However, its attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the media could further erode the rule of law and exacerbate disputes with the EU.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, European Union, Populism, Conservatism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Anuschka Álvarez von Gustedt, Susanne Gratius
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Are populism and social cohesion two sides of the same coin, or antagonistic concepts? In deeply divided Latin American societies, populism and discourses from the left have repeatedly promised inclusion and welfare programs under a strong leader who gives voice to the poor and marginalized. At first glance, however, results are ambiguous. The recent wave of left-wing populism in Latin America --from Hugo Chávez in 1999 to Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2019 - show a mixed record of social inclusion or –in a term we will use here - social cohesion. Bolivia under Evo Morales (2006-2019), for example, improved all social indicators compared to former governments, while the severe political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela illustrates how populism and its welfare policies may lead to potentially disastrous consequences. The paper is organized as follows: In the first section, we provide a short overview of current political and academic debates on populism and social cohesion, as well as their relationship. The objective here is to identify a minimal definition of both concepts. In the second part, we develop a series of indicators to compare the social record of five Latin American case-studies where leftist leaders with state-centric discourses promised justice and welfare for the poor. From this comparative perspective, the third part of the document explores the causes that led to the rise of leftist populism between 1999 and 2018 in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as the social discourse and track record of populist governments. This analysis is based on indicators developed from the broad literature on social cohesion.
  • Topic: Socialism/Marxism, Populism, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia
  • Author: Guillermo Calvo
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The last presidential elections in Argentina (2015) and in Brazil (2018), represent a change from populism towards more orthodox economic policies in two important countries in the region. This shift is not only economic but also reflects other fundamental changes in the electorate, in particular the growing dissatisfaction of the population with issues such as weak security and growing corruption in political institutions. In both countries, there are significant fiscal problems and adjustment is needed. But in modern democracies, the success or failure of economic policy is closely tied to political developments. Notably, both countries face their macroeconomic challenges under a parliamentary minority; a situation that is common to many countries in the region at present. Economies highly integrated into the international capital markets, with macroeconomic imbalances inherited from populist governments, face a particularly difficult challenge. On the one hand, the required fiscal tightening entails the execution of policies that may result in greater social unrest, thus encouraging a gradual approach. On the other hand, a gradual approach requires a greater funding stream of financial funds thus exposing the economy to higher financial risk. The dilemma of choosing between a shock adjustment and a gradual approach has been central to understanding what has happened in Argentina and is essential to assessing the options available to the next government in Brazil. The dilemma about the optimal speed of fiscal adjustment has been faced by other countries in the region in the past. In some successful cases of gradualism, the presence of a clear commitment mechanism over the fiscal path, including the implementation of goals agreed with the IMF, has played a decisive role in mitigating the credibility gap typically linked to gradual approaches. One question that the Committee puts forward throughout this statement is to what extent does Argentina's experience entail relevant lessons for Brazil? In order to thoroughly understand these possible lessons and the challenges that both countries face, it is important to consider the similarities and differences between Argentina and Brazil. There is no doubt that both countries are dealing with formidable fiscal challenges. In both countries, there is a primary fiscal deficit and public debt levels are high in relation to GDP. Also, both economies face low or negative growth rates, partly because of cyclical or temporary factors and partly because of low productivity levels due to complex regulatory regimes and tax systems that hinder investment. On the other hand, the realities of Argentina and Brazil are very different in some important aspects. Brazil has not had to cope with a currency crisis and external financing problems such as those of Argentina; the latter has had to reduce its hefty deficit in the current account of the balance of payments. In contrast, Brazil’s external public debt and external financing needs of the public sector are low. However, while the private sector’s foreign indebtedness is quite moderate in Argentina, it is relatively high in the case of Brazil. As regards to monetary policy and inflation, the situation in both countries is also very different. Whereas the inflation rate in Argentina has suffered a substantial increase throughout this year in the context of low credibility in its monetary policy, Brazil has kept a low and stable inflation rate and has significantly improved its central bank’s credibility. These similarities and differences require a differentiated discussion of each country, even if some challenges facing Argentina and Brazil are shared, and whether their experiences provide lessons for each other. The international context plays a fundamental role for both economies in determining the results of economic policy. Before embarking on a more detailed analysis of the challenges facing Argentina and Brazil during the next year, we will analyze how the international context has recently changed, in the next section.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Populism, Local
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At a time of rising populism in Europe and a global crisis of democratic representation, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) aims to provide a concrete response to those denouncing the lack of democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions. The new regulation, proposed by the Commission last September and still under discussion by both the Parliament and the Council, facilitates the use of ECI. However, it remains insufficient for citizens willing to engage regularly in the EU law-making process. This Egmont Paper assesses the overall impact of the ECI on European policies and compares it to the complementary tools of participatory democracy such as the recently established Citizens’ consultations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Democracy, Europe Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Summit on the Future of Europe is an initiative of Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES). Launched in 2014, this annual conference aims to convene eminent scholars and public leaders at Harvard in order to debate critical challenges facing Europe. The 2017 Summit took place at Harvard on November 6 and focused on “Europe and Transatlantic Relations in the Era of Populism.” It was a partnership of CES, the diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, Populism, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Adrien Abecassis
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One of the key questions in the current debate on the causes of the rise of populism is whether the economic harshness and distrust in traditional political parties increase or decrease election turnout. This question was debated in a recent roundtable discussion, organized by the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Populism, on the economic and cultural causes of populism’s prevalence. Would voters struck by economic shocks—those whose futures seemed to be vulnerable, and who have lost their sense of security about their own lives and that of their children’s—tend to vote to prevent this from happening? Or would their suffering cause them to retreat and withdraw from political elections? And indeed, the answer is not obvious: Luigi Guiso et al. found that economic security shocks significantly increased the likelihood of abstention, while David Autor et al. showed that economic shocks due to foreign trade competition raised—not lowered—voter turnout.
  • Topic: Elections, Populism, Political Parties, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Populism has been de�ined by Cas Mudde as “a thin-centred ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogenous and antagonistic groups, ʻthe pure peopleʼ and ʻthe corrupt eliteʼ, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté general (general will) of the people”. In the past, populist movements and parties in Europe campaigned against national political elites who, as the narrative goes, lost touch with the common people and pursued their own particular agendas in national capitals. Since the advent of the European Union in 1993 (entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty) their focus has moved to an adversary even more disconnected and physically distant from the national electorates – the unelected, bureaucratic and supranational elite in Brussels. Nevertheless, national heads of state or government remain a secondary target, as they are seen either as powerless (due to the transfer of competences to EU institutions) or in collusion with the Brussels’ “junta”. This new type of populism can be described as sovereignist, because of its advocacy of downgrading the EU back to a confederation of states, or – more radically – of dissolving it altogether. This new type of populism can be described as sovereignist, because of its advocacy of downgrading the EU back to a confederation of states, or – more radically – of dissolving it altogether. The populist objection to the democratic de�icit of the EU is not without substance. Major decisions, such as the introduction of harsh austerity measures in Greece, or the attempted imposition of obligatory migrant quotas on Hungary, have been made in the Quartier européen against the explicit wishes of the affected demoi, made clear in the Greek bailout referendum of July 2015 and the Hungarian migrant quota referendum of October 2016. Therefore, these decisions can be described as legal, according to relevant EU treaties, but not fully legitimate, as they don’t enjoy the support of the concerned populations. Even the renowned German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, certainly no admirer of populist parties, acknowledged in The Crisis of the European Union: A Response (2012) that the EU “has been sustained and monopolised only by political elites” and that it is showing signs of moving in the direction of “a kind of post-democratic rule”. While some argue that the creeping transition towards post-democracy is a deliberate choice by European political elites, others view it as a regrettable but unavoidable side effect of the current status of the EU which is a sui generis formation, neither a confederation of states, nor a federal state.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bart Bonikowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Harvard sociologist Bart Bonikowski explains why Brexit has two important lessons for political analysis on both sides of the Atlantic
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit, Populism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Sandro Knezović
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: A few months ago, the newspapers in Southeast Europe reported extensively on an arms race in the region, sparked by Croatian attempts to acquire the US artillery system M270 MLRS and Serbia’s reaction to that event. Of�icials in Belgrade found the aforementioned move assertive and, by way of response, announced the procurement of Russian-made S-300 within the wider programme of rearming with Russian military equipment. Those who wanted to dig more deeply into trying to �ind evidence for a developing arms race cited the fact that Serbia, on the occasion of the visit of Russian President Putin, had organised a military parade to commemorate the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi occupation. That was followed by Croatia’s military parade on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the military-police operation ‘Storm’. The display of military strength, they concluded, was another sign of growing military rivalry between the two states which had the capacity to dramatically destabilise the fragile peace in the region. Those with more detailed knowledge of the region remind us that neither Croatia nor Serbia - especially the latter - had the political, economic or human capacity to engage in a military con�lict, especially given the existing international presence and strategic set-up in the region. Numerous experts rightfully pointed to the prevailing low level of cross-border political dialogue and the fact that political elites in the region had frequently used populist rhetoric to fuel the support of their electorate, focusing less on the real substance of the dispute with the neighbour. Lastly, but certainly not of least importance, was the fact that, both countries, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, had taken on international obligations to safeguard a stable military balance, thus preventing any potential escalations and destabilisation in the region. The so-called 1996 Florence Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, derived from Article IV of the Dayton Peace Agreement, set the basic framework for negotiations on the limitation of arms. The Amendments to that agreement, signed at the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel (December 2014), imposed full responsibility on signatory states for regional stability and arms control.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy, Populism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Jonathan Chen, Adhi Priamarizki
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The itinerant rise of the professionalised class of political pollsters, consultancies and statistic-analytical institutes in the Indonesian electoral scene has, in recent months, been accompanied by an analogous rise of a proto opinion-mining, sentiment-tracking industry in cyber-space, facilitated by an increasingly mediated environment. While newer forms of online media platforms have yet to replace traditional mass-media, the felt effects of individual aggrandisement and vicarious political marketing derived from these platforms proved to be very effective. This paper explores aspects of new media and its nascent influence upon Indonesian politics in the race to 2014. It examines how a more participatory post-Reformasi climate had joined forces with various aspects of new media, providing the electorate with greater leverage over their choice of candidates following the precipitous rise of populist media doyens like Joko Widodo. This paper concludes that aspects of new media are steadily gaining currency as a legitimate mainstream indicator of candidature electability even as voters‟ allegiance gradually shifts away from party to personality in Indonesia.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Elections, Democracy, Populism
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Sook-Jong Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: States form images of each other based on assessments of each other’s material capabilities or on interpretations of each other’s intentions. Images matter in the foreign policy making process since they form popular public opinion on official policies and, in more basic ways, construct people’s identity toward other countries. Some images are more transient and therefore manageable. Remarks by foreign leaders, official documents, or media coverage tend to belong to this category. States try to make their images favorable in the minds of a foreign audience through their public diplomacy efforts. On the other hand, some images are more fundamental and hard to change, so that foreign policies are pressed to operate within their perimeter. Political ideology, religious orientation, and accumulated bilateral historical experiences tend to form these more durable images. Today’s globalized world has witnessed the rise of the Internet as an important medium constructing popular images of a foreign country. As mass communication across countries becomes more open and instant, foreign policy makers face the increasing challenge of controlling information flows and separating foreign policy agendas from domestic interests. Citizens with less direct contact are more prone to embracing popular images mediated by mass media. Elites, in contrast, who have more direct contact and knowledge, tend to have more rationally interpreted images of foreign countries. Formerly, elites used to monopolize foreign policy inputs. In the porous world of today, however, it is difficult for elites to resist and persuade popular opinion, which is more emotionally driven. This challenge is felt in China, where the leadership is sometimes at odds with irrational populism. In this respect, it is important to understand Chinese images of South Korea. How do elites and ordinary citizens of China hold South Korea in their political imagination? What are the implications of Chinese images of Korea for Seoul’s China policy?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Globalization, Regional Cooperation, Populism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea