Growth and Extremism

by Shihang

This article provides empirical evidence for everything we have ever suspected about Hitler and Mussolini’s rise to power. I especially like how the correlation is not between GDP and extremism, but growth and extremism, suggesting that should growth stop, people will get nationalistic. However, I’m not sure why the effect would be more pronounced in places with a more equal distribution of income. Perhaps the rich at the top of the chain will be less affected by nationalistic fervour? Or are distributions of income a symptom for some other trait which explains the increased tendency to political extremism?

Another interesting path to explore might be if this works in reverse. In China for example, do the people get more democratic when growth slows? Admittedly, getting data for that will be a bitch.