The Anatomy of Populists’ Backstops across the EU.

By Jaume Martorell Cruz

In her latest article for Project Syndicate, Professor Brigitte Granville scrutinized the anatomy of the populist movements that have been gaining political ground in many western countries. Published this February and drawing on the insights of various Project Syndicate contributors, the article explained how these different movements have a similar zero sum view of the world and pointed to the then forthcoming elections in the Netherlands and France as bellwethers.

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Economics or Identity? Professor Brigitte Granville latest article explores the reasons for the rise of the “Front National” in France

The upcoming French elections are the new bellwether of populist politics. In the two-round presidential contest, polls point to Marine Le Pen making it into, but then losing, the second round run-off. Nonetheless, reflecting the growing appeal of the National Front (FN), Ms Le Pen is poised to do considerably better than her father – Jean Marie Le Pen – did in 2002, when he got through to the second round against the then incumbent, Jacques Chirac. In her latest article for the OMFIF bulletin, “Unemployment spurs Le Pen Phenomenon”, Professor Brigitte Granville – CGR Director – argues that to explain the strength of the FN, the poor performance of the French economy matters even more than immigration and other issues touching on identity politics.

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Does increased flexibility in labour institutions makes labour markets more resilient to recessions? The new CGR working papers by Prof Pedro Martins present positive evidence

Recessions hit hard and fast while wages and labour conditions are sticky and difficult to adapt, which tends to lead to high unemployment levels during business cycle downturns. We can see an example of this in the unemployment levels of some European economies.  According to Eurostat, Spain had an unemployment rate of the 22.7% in April 2015, a rate that skyrocketed from 8.1% in January 2008. Similarly Greece’s unemployment rate went from 8% in 2008 to 25.6% in 2017. Portugal has also experienced a bumpy ride, albeit a more moderate one. The unemployment rate started at similar levels to Spain and Greece in 2008, peaked around 17.5% in January 2013 and start decreasing afterwards down to 13% in April 2015.

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