Policy Article

Paying Off Populism: EU Regional Policy Decreases Populist Support


  • Gold
  • R.
  • Lehr
  • J.
Publication Date

How to break the populist wave? With the elections to the European Parliament ahead, and the Presidential Elections in the US looming, this question bothers policymakers in many Western democracies. Our study shows that regional policies effectively decrease populist support. Specifically, EU Regional Policy investing into the development of lagging-behind regions decreases the vote share obtained by right-fringe populist parties by 15–20 percent. Moreover, regional policy investments increase trust in democratic institutions, and decreases discontent with the EU.

Kiel Institute Expert


JEL Classification
D72, H54, R11, R58

Key Words

  • Populism
  • Regional Policies
  • European Integration
  • Regression Discontinuity Design