Brian Rathbun

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Demonstrators wave signs against social cuts during a protest organized by Spanish trade unions in Madrid on Oct. 7, 2012. (Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg)

The potency of right-wing populism was visible again last week in the success of right-wing parties in the Austrian election. Conventional wisdom has a ready explanation for populism’s success: the declining economic fortunes of the working class. As the story goes, people who are frustrated with modern economies that require high levels of education — the “losers of globalization”– revolt from politics as usual. Populism is the cry of the financially forgotten.

There’s just one problem. It’s not clear at all that populism originates in the pocketbook. Indeed, our new research shows that populist beliefs don’t depend much on how much money you make, whether you think of yourself as “working class,” or whether you have personal financial concerns and struggles.…  Seguir leyendo »