Dec. 11, 2020 (Phys.org) -- The rise of populist movements is changing political systems around the world.
As support for these "anti-elite" movements intensifies, many are scrambling to understand whether economic decline and intensifying inter-group conflict are playing a role.
A model developed by a team of researchers -- including Nolan McCarty of Princeton University -- shows how group polarization, rising inequality, and economic decline may be strongly connected.
The model develops a theory that group polarization tends to soar in times of economic duress and rising inequality. Yet, even after financial conditions improve, these divisions may remain deeply rooted.
This is why strengthened social safety nets are needed to help minimize conflict across social, ethnic, and racial groups, the researchers argue in Science Advances.