Populism, Majority Rule, and Economic Freedom

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Populism, Majority Rule, and Economic Freedom

In this chapter from the forthcoming Economic Freedom of the World: 2023 Annual Report, Andrea Celico and Martin Rode of the Universidad de Navarra investigate the relationship between populism and economic freedom, and also consider the potentially mediating roles of institutional constraints and government ideology. Controlling for other determinants, they find that populism in government is significantly associated with reductions in economic freedom for a large sample of democratic countries. They also find that in OECD countries, the negative association between populism and economic freedom seems to be mediated to a substantial degree by political constraints and political ideology. It is possible that institutional guardrails, which are often absent in many non-OECD countries, check the power of populist governments.

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