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correlation between economic distress and the role of populism in politics at the country and aggregate level in Europe. In fact, populist parties rose in countries less affected by the Great Recession and with relatively robust growth. However, they also find a positive correlation between regional distress and the vote for populist parties within a country. “So populism is not just the voice of the losers ,” says Antonio Spilimbergo, one of the authors of the paper. “ Therefore, perhaps economists need to talk with political scientists to understand populism

IMF Research Perspective (formerly published as IMF Research Bulletin) is a new, redesigned online newsletter covering updates on IMF research. In the inaugural issue of the newsletter, Hites Ahir interviews Valeria Cerra; and they discuss the economic environment 10 years after the global financial crisis. Research Summaries cover the rise of populism; economic reform; labor and technology; big data; and the relationship between happiness and productivity. Sweta C. Saxena was the guest editor for this inaugural issue.
Mr. Tito Boeri, Ms. Prachi Mishra, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.
Mr. Tito Boeri, Ms. Prachi Mishra, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo

attributed to the International Monetary Fund, its Executive Board, or its Management. 2 Throughout the paper we use Latin America and Europe as a shortcut for countries in these continents. Individual countries had different experiences with liberal democracy and populism. 3 Political scientists have worked extensively on populism. Even a simple review of the literature on populism in political science is well beyond the scope of this paper. We quote only few authors whose work is close to our approach. 4 Even de Tocqueville (1835) warned about the