The Dimensionality of Populism

GT 2.7 Crisis económica, cambio social y auge del populismo: efectos en los sistemas de partidos

Nina Wiesehomeier (IE Universidad)
Sesión 1
Día: viernes,22 de septiembre de 2017
Hora: 09:00 a 11:00
Lugar: Seminario 2.2.

Recent developments in conceptualization appear to coalesce around definitions of populism as a set of ideas and a discourse, facilitating comparative studies and empirical measurement. However, recent advancements in quantitative research applying various techniques of text analysis to measuring populism tend to concentrate only on measuring the degree of populism in isolation from other ideological features. Thus, such techniques have so far not advanced our understanding of populism in terms of, for instance, programmatic appeal. To help to overcome such limitations, this paper uses expert surveys to measure populism in conjunction with in the context of Latin American presidential systems. Contrasting three different conceptualizations of populism, namely populism understood as anti-elite rhetoric, as a set of ideas (aka the ideational approach), and as informal style, I examine if and how 10 separately measured policy dimensions and the general left-right scale are associated with the degree of populism for a sample of 165 political parties and 18 presidents in 18 Latin American countries. The results show that informality is least aligned with populism. While the ideational approach is clearly orthogonal to the general left-right dimension, relying on anti-elite rhetoric as a proxy for populism runs the risk of confusing ideology with populism and should not be used as a sole measure to capture this phenomenon.

Palabras clave: populism, left-right, expert surveys, Latin America