Not Merely Ideological: The Political Economy of Populism in Government

Amit Avigur-Eshel, Dani Filc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years the study of populism has followed a "pure" political track, typically employing an ideological perspective. We argue that such a perspective downplays material aspects of populism and limits the ability to analyze populism in government. In order to reinvigorate interest in and concern with the political economy of contemporary populism we rely on the emerging growth model approach in comparative political economy to study the political economy of populism in government. We situate populist socio-economic policies, understood as those policies aiming at improving the material welfare and wellbeing of "the people", within a growth model analysis whose main insight is the association of economic growth with dynamics in the division of national income between labor and capital. Our empirical analysis of three successive governments of Israel led by the Likud populist party between 2009 and 2018 demonstrates the utility of this approach for the study of populism in government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-526
Number of pages21
JournalSwiss Political Science Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Capitalism
  • Economic Policy
  • Growth Model Approach
  • Political Economy
  • Populism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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