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Quantifying political populism and examining the link with economic insecurity: evidence from Greece

Ntentas, Raphael (2021) Quantifying political populism and examining the link with economic insecurity: evidence from Greece. GreeSE Papers: Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe (165). Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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At this juncture of human history populism is ubiquitous and Greek politics constitute no exception. This paper sheds light on a methodology that quantifies political populism (i.e. parliamentary populist rhetoric) in Greece through a novel textual dataset, which includes 16.5 years filled with heated debates over times of economic peaks and valleys. Combining computer with human intelligence to identify populism based upon a creative dictionary and strict definitional guidelines that fit the Hellenic Parliament’s context, helps one explore perspectives unimagined just a few years ago. Besides, as Greece has gone through a series of sharp, intense and generalized socio-economic shocks, this paper uses an OLS multiple regression analysis to test whether there is a link between economic insecurity and political populism. Ultimately, it provides empirical evidence on a weak link, indicating economic insecurity’s minimal role in explaining the variation in political populism levels. Our results do offer some tentative insights into how political populism evolves in the country during 2004-2020, confirming the previous empirical finding that assigns higher levels of populism to December when heated parliamentary debates on the following year’s budget occur. Lastly, the empirical results indicate that populism does not intensify in conditions of crises, in alignment with the findings of some of the latest cross-national studies.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2021 09:42
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:22

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