Lecture: "Perceived automation threat, populism and vote choice: evidence from 14 European democracies"

Professor Peter Loewen, Department of Political Science,
The Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, 
University of Toronto, Canada

08 November 2021, 16:15 

Professor Peter Loewen is ​2021/2022 IAS Distinguished Scholars of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies.




The political consequences of Automation and Artificial Intelligence has become the focus of some populism and nationalism literature. We contribute to this literature by drawing from a data set of over 15,000 respondents from 14 European countries to estimate how respondents’ egotropic and sociotropic fears about automation and job loss relate to party support. We find a positive relationship between personal automation risk and left voting, but a negative relationship between personal automation risk and support for populist right parties. We find that nativism suppresses the overall negative relationship between personal automation fear and populist right party support. We also find that perceptions of collective threat increase intentions to vote for populist right parties, but not other party families. Overall, our analysis suggests that both non-populist and populist left parties could be positioned to make substantial gains when citizens feel more personally exposed to automation and AI.



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