Recent micro-level studies have suggested that globalization—in particular, economic globalization and trade with China—breeds political polarization and populism. This study examines whether or not those results generalize by examining the country-level association between vote shares for European populist parties and economic globalization. Using data on vote shares for 267 right-wing and left-wing populist parties in 33 European countries during 1980–2017, and globalization data from the KOF institute, we find no evidence of a positive association between (economic or other types of) globalization and populism. EU membership is associated with a 4–6-percentage-point larger vote share for right-wing populist parties.
Globalization and Populism in Europe