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Constantin Gurdgiev @GTCost
, 24 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Meanwhile in #Ireland, democracy completed its circle of evolution, with the largest opposition party begging its competitors who currently lead the Government to remain in power.
In light of my previous tweet (a quip) a more serious question: Is #Ireland likely to become the next European domino to fall to the growing pressure toward populism in politics? + 1/17
+ Look at the evidence 1st: per latest Authoritarian Populism data, Ireland has 4.1% vote for anti-establishment parties/politicians, per last GE outrun. This is well below the European average of 19.9% and median of 16.9%. But the number is rising: in 2014, the same + 2/17
+ vote share was 1.1%. This is a significant uptick from a low base. Bad news: last time we got close to this level of populism in Ireland was in 1987, when populist left won 3.8% of the vote. So we are at a historical high as of currently. Worse news: these figures do not+ 3/17
+ capture independents and SF. Nor do they differentiate the potential drift toward populism amongst mainstream parties. One has to go back to 1985-1987 to see individual counts of anti-establishment Dail members close to current. Now, the drivers: (1) Social Trend: Irish + 4/17
+ voters tend to be ‘sticky’ - preferring to cast votes for incumbent parties almost regardless of the state of the economy or society, and approval rating for political parties are showing the Centre holding, so far. But the Irish voters are also showing huge variation in + 5/17
+ their perceived preferences & vote outruns. All most recent referenda in Ireland, since the start of Millennium, have been associated with a shift away from traditionalism and/or shocking to the establishment outruns (especially European referenda). So, while volatility + 6/17
+ might not be the problem for the established parties, uncertainty is clearly present, and dealing with the latter - politically, ideologically & policy-wise - is much much harder than dealing w the former. (2) Economic drivers: despite a robust headline recovery in + 7/17
+ the economy in recent years, the memory of the crisis and post-crisis mis-management of the economy is very much alive, with series of high visibility crises at the forefront of the news flow (housing, homelessness, health, education, concentration of growth in key + 8/17
+ cities, etc). (3) Political dynamics: w virtual convergence between 2 main parties, FF / FG (my original tweet), we severely reduced ability of the mainstream politics to handle (1) and (2) above. There is no effective opposition, other than populist anti-establishment + 9/17
+ one. Which means that marginal voters can be drifting toward positions not captured by the traditional (status quo parties-focused) polls. Another dynamic that can be of concern is the rising anti-establishment sentiment amongst the voters not aligned with the parties + 10/17
+ division on the political spectrum. While this is much harder to identify in the case of Ireland, where normal (to other countries) values surveys are very rare, some evidence for this is suggested in EU-wide surveys, like this…. + 11/ 17
+ In summary, Irish political environment is changing, & changing rapidly (in part due to demographics, in part due to legacy of the crises, and in part due to the statism of the establishment falling behind the first trend & unable to deal with the second trend). While + 12/17
+ the immediate drift toward anti-establishment populism might be latent & not fully visible in the opinion polls, failure of the establishment to address real issues faced by the voters, esp. the emerging gaps between the better-off mid-age demographic & the high-pressure+ 13/17
+ younger demographics, will - if left unaddressed - put immense pressure on the status quo Centrist politics. The existent political system resting on the Centre-only parties, backed by the established ‘permanent Government’ of largely incompetent bureaucracy is not + 14/17
+ sustainable in the long run. The systemic weaknesses in the Irish political establishment are a sitting duck to any re-acceleration in crisis dynamics or external shocks, if such were to remove the implicit subsidy to the Centre, arising from the MNCs-focused economic + 15/17
+ development model. Current statistical ‘calm’ in Irish politics just might be the eye of the storm that started w the GFC/Great Recession, got somewhat muted by the recovery period, but remains unresolved due to the lack of meaningful policy alternatives. Other EU states'+16/17
+ experience is telling: populism does not tend to rise gradually, nor is it linked directly to economic crises (e.g. unemployment). Establishment (FF/FG) complacency, & obsession w power positioning at the expense of the voters hunger for change, tends to be at fault. END
Just a footnote: I have been working with a lot of populism data for Europe. One striking thing is that measures of macroeconomic performance, e.g. unemployment, employment, output gap, GDP growth etc DO NOT explain rise of populism. But concerns with social policies, e.g. +
+ immigration, EU Accession, Euro introduction etc appear to have an impact. So FG/FF positioning that the 'recovery will lift all boats' reducing pressure on political establishment might be faulty.
Here are the (very preliminary) results testing drivers for changes in the EU populism voter preferences: 1) Output gap (not significant), 2) Unemployment (significant, inc lags), 3) Employment/population ratio (significant, but unexpected positive correlation w populism); +
+ 4) Geopolitical Uncertainty measures (not significant), 5) Migration Fear Index (significant: higher fears expressed = higher vote for populist parties). Testing for structural change shows massive shift in the regime toward more sensitivity of populist vote share to +
+ the above variables in post-2003 regime (post EEU accession to the EU). The results are ugly. And there is suspicion (though we do not have enough data, yet to test formally) that there has been another potential regime shift post-2014 migration crisis blow-out.
I will be covering this (econometrics inc) in my course this Monday and Wednesday @MIIS and in my @TCDBusiness course in November.
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