Well-being foundations of populism in Europe

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Models of retrospective voting assume that voters’ preferences and choices depend on their subjective well-being, and thus, the belief that a particular candidate if elected, shall implement policies to improve it. We use this framework to address the populist phenomenon in Europe over the last 20 years. We find an inverse relationship between individual life satisfaction and self-reported support for populist parties (i.e., party identification). We further explore that relationship and identify political trust as one mechanism through which changes in life satisfaction affect the probability of supporting a populist party, especially, if positioned at the radical right or left.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102494
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Populism
  • Life satisfaction
  • Subjective well-being
  • Political preferences
  • political trust

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