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The Nationalism-Populism-Social Conservatism Database of Presidents and Prime Ministers

Thursday, March 24, 2022, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The De- and Re-Democratization Workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute cordially invites you to this public lecture.

Please note that this is an online event. To receive the Zoom-link, please register here.


In this presentation, I introduce the Nationalism-Populism-Social Conservatism database of chief executives (presidents and prime ministers) in Europe and North America utilizing a technique innovated by Kirk Hawkins called holistic grading. Building on Hawkins’ Global Populism Database, this original database uses expert country coders to measure the rhetoric of each leader for populism, nationalism and social conservatism (the three features of right-wing populism) across a quota of speeches—campaign, famous, international and ribbon-cutting—for each term of office. The aim is to find the extent to which the three types of discourses intersect across both space and time. We find that there has been no aggregate rise in any of these discourses over time across Europe over the past twenty years, but that there has been a rise in both nationalism and populism in leader rhetoric in East Central Europe.  We also find that populism and nationalism are highly correlated in leaders’ speeches in the corpus as a whole, but that populism is far less common in the speeches of Western leaders. Furthermore, social conservatism is highly correlated with populism and nationalism in post-communist countries but not in Western Europe. The nationalism and populism data are described and analyzed in Studies in Comparative International Development (2021), co-authored by Kirk Hawkins, Bruno Castanho Silva and myself.


Erin Jenne is a Research Affiliate at the CEU Democracy Institute, and a Professor at the International Relations Department at CEU. She received her PhD at Stanford University in political science with concentrations in comparative politics, international relations and organizational theory. She has received numerous grants and fellowships, including a MacArthur fellowship at Stanford University, a Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) fellowship at Harvard University, a Carnegie Corporation scholarship, a Senior Fernand Braudel fellowship at European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, and was co-principal investigator for a Minerva Grant from the US Office of Naval Research to conduct research on the subject of soft power. She is the author of Ethnic Bargaining: The Paradox of Minority Empowerment and Nested Security: Lessons in Conflict Management from the League of Nations and the European Union. She has published numerous book chapters and articles, and was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Foreign Policy Analysis.

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