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Research Seminar in Economics, Manuel Santos Silva (Universität Münster)

17.11.2022 | 12:15 - 13:45

Manuel Santos Silva

Right-wing populism in the tropics: Economic crisis, the political gender gap, and the election of Bolsonaro

This paper investigates whether differential exposure to a labor market shock by gender contributed to the rise of far-right populism in Brazil. Using a shift-share approach, we find that gender heterogeneity in shock exposure predicts electoral outcomes. Male-specific labor demand shocks increase support for Bolsonaro in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election, but female-specific shocks have the reverse effect. Additional results suggest that these opposing effects are accompanied by an unprecedented shift in social values of men and women, with men becoming relatively more conservative. Our preferred interpretation is that Bolsonaro's conservative rhetoric---shared by several other right-wing politicians---is more appealing to men once they experience a relative loss in economic status, which is consistent both with the positive male effect as well as the negative female effect.