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Albers, Thilo Nils Hendrik; Kersting, Felix and Kosse, Fabian (25. October 2022): Income Misperception and Populism. Collaborative Research Center Transregio 190, Discussion Paper No. 344 [PDF, 1MB]

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We propose that false beliefs about the own current economic status are an important factor for explaining populist attitudes. Along with the subjects' receptiveness to right-wing populism, we elicit their perceived relative income positions in a representative survey of German households. We find that people with pessimistic beliefs about their income position are more attuned to populist statements. Key to understanding the misperception-populism relationship are strong gender differences in the mechanism: Misperception triggers income dissatisfaction for both men and women, but the former are much more likely to channel their discontent into affection for populist ideas.

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