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Digging up Trenches: Populism, Selective Mobility, and the Political Polarization of Italian Municipalities

Luca Bellodi (), Frédéric Docquier (), Stefano Iandolo, Massimo Morelli () and Riccardo Turati
Additional contact information
Luca Bellodi: Bocconi University
Frédéric Docquier: LISER
Massimo Morelli: Bocconi University

No 16732, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We study the effect of local exposure to populism on net population movements by citizenship status, gender, age and education level in the context of Italian municipalities. We present two research designs to estimate the causal effect of populist attitudes and politics. Initially, we use a combination of collective memory and trigger variables as an instrument for the variation in populist vote shares across national elections. Subsequently, we apply a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of electing a populist mayor on population movements. We establish three converging findings. First, the exposure to both populist attitudes and policies, as manifested by the vote share of populist parties in national election or the closeelection of a new populist mayor, reduces the attractiveness of municipalities, leading to larger population outflows. Second, the effect is particularly pronounced among young, female, and highly educated natives, who tend to relocate across Italian municipalities rather than internationally. Third, we do not find any effect on the foreign population. Our results highlight a foot-voting mechanism that may contribute to a political polarization in Italian municipalities.

Keywords: migration; human capital; populism; Italian politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 F22 F52 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 80 pages
Date: 2024-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-pol and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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Working Paper: Digging Up Trenches: Populism, Selective Mobility, and the Political Polarization of Italian Municipalities (2024) Downloads
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