Economic Conditions and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Extremism

Author
Benjamin Crost
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
Abstract
This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti democratic extremist groups. The effect is concentrated in states with high pre-existing racial resentment, as proxied by racist web searches, and strongest for the male unemployment rate and the white unemployment rate. If unemployment had remained at its pre-recession level, the increase in anti-democratic groups between 2007 and 2010 could have been reduced by more than 60%.
Topic
Economics, Democracy, Inequality, Far Right, Economic Inequality, Political Extremism
Political Geography
United States