Until recently, it seemed self-evident that liberal democracies and their institutions were secure, and that the world would continue on a path of globalisation and economic integration. But in recent years a surge of populism has turned this expectation on its head, and for many people a new emphasis on nationalism, protectionism and isolationism has taken hold. We are focused on finding ways to rebuild trust and reform institutions, and to solve the root causes that when neglected give populists a route to power.
Our work takes in both the dynamics of populism and the actions required to build resilience against it. The causes and consequences of populism remain poorly understood, and we are investigating the long-term trends that drive voters towards populist candidates, as well as how populist leaders behave once in office. We are also developing approaches that can push back on populism by rebuilding trust in the institutions that it so often seeks to denigrate.
Trust in political institutions is an essential foundation for any moderate leader to advance an optimistic vision for the future and deliver on their promises to address people’s legitimate concerns and achieve real social and economic progress.