WES Exclusive: Interview with Professor Chris Anderson on the Rise of Populism

In recent years, the rapid-emergence of parties associated with Populism on the Right and Left of the political spectrum has been a growing trend, represented by a number of shock election-outcomes in countries including Brazil, India, the Philippines, and the UK. WES has the chance to interview Prof. Chris Anderson, a Research Associate at the Centre of Comparative Advantage in the Global Economy and Director of the PPE program at the University of Warwick, about the underlying causes of Populism and his views on the future of reactionary outcomes.

We began the interview by discussing a recent research paper co-authored by Professor Anderson titled: ‘Crisis of Confidence? The Dynamics of Economic Opinions during the Great Recession”. In the paper, Prof. Anderson discussed how real economic variables and political structures of nations affected the perception of crises leading to different voting behaviour. In Prof. Anderson’s analysis of the extent of influence economic outcomes had on the recent surge towards populism, we asked this question: were the populist outcomes a direct consequence of the Global Recession or instead symptomatic of a permanent move away from established policy?

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Jagjit Chadha – What do economists have to offer to policy making?

“A hell of a lot. Whether policymakers take our advice is the real question.”

This year’s WES Presents was kicked off by Professor Jagjit Chadha, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). In a time where the role of experts seems to be increasingly distrusted in public discourse, he highlighted the value of rigorous economic analysis rather than reductive political sensationalism in the search for the right answers in policy, forecasting and analysis of the past.

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