Research Paper CEP Discussion Papers 1659
Economic insecurity and the rise of the right
Economic insecurity has attracted growing attention in social, academic and policy circles. However, there is no consensus as to its precise definition. Intuitively, economic insecurity is multi-faceted, making any comprehensive formal definition that subsumes all possible aspects extremely challenging. We propose a simplified approach, and characterize a class of individual economic-insecurity measures that are based on the time profile of economic resources. We then apply our economic-insecurity measure to data on political preferences. In US, UK and German panel data, and conditional on current economic resources, economic insecurity is associated with both greater political participation (support for a party or the intention to vote) and notably more support for parties on the right of the political spectrum. We in particular find that economic insecurity predicts greater support for both Donald Trump before the 2016 US Presidential election and the UK leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.