Working Paper No. 1304

Globalization and Populism in Europe

Published: November 19, 2019, revised October 2020Pages: 21Keywords: Globalization; Populism; TradeJEL-codes: P16; F68

Globalization and Populism in Europe Andreas Bergh and Anders Kärnä

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 4 to 6 percentage points larger vote shares for right-wing populist parties.


Bergh, Andreas and Anders Kärnä (2019), "Globalization and Populism in Europe". IFN Working Paper No. 1304. Stockholm: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).

Andreas Bergh


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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