Reclaiming Populism: how economic fairness can win back disenchanted voters

Hosted by the School of Public Policy

Online public event


Eric Protzer

Eric Protzer

Dr Paul Summerville

Dr Paul Summerville

Professor Vanessa Rubio Márquez

Professor Vanessa Rubio Márquez



Professor Andrés Velasco

Professor Andrés Velasco

Join us to hear from authors Eric Protzer and Paul Summerville as they discuss their book Reclaiming Populism: How Economic Fairness Can Win Back Disenchanted Voters.

In their book they contend that populist upheavals like Trump, Brexit, and the Gilets Jaunes happen when the system really is rigged. Citizens over the world are angry not due to income inequality or immigration, but economic unfairness: the sense of being held back from success because opportunity is not equal and reward is not according to contribution.

This forensic book draws on original research, cited by the UN and IMF, to demonstrate that illiberal populism strikes hardest when success is influenced by family origins rather than talent and effort. Protzer and Summerville propose a framework of policy inputs that instead support high social mobility, and apply it to diagnose the differing reasons behind economic unfairness in the US, UK, Italy, and France. By striving for a fair, socially-mobile economy, they argue, it is possible to craft a politics that reclaims the reasonable grievances behind populism.

Meet our speakers and chair

Eric Protzer (@ProtzerEric) is a Research Fellow at Harvard University's Growth Lab. He has a master's degree from MIT in Technology Policy. Eric's work has been cited and featured by the UN, IMF, IADB, and Brookings, and he has advised governments such as those of Western Australia, Jordan, and Colombia. 

Paul Summerville (@paulsummerville) is Adjunct Professor at the Gustavson School of Business of the University of Victoria. Paul graduated with a PhD in International Relations from the University of Tokyo in 1988, before moving on to a twenty-year career in finance between 1988-2009. Paul ran for Parliament twice in Canada, co-founded the e-commerce firm LimeSpot, and served on the Board of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Vanessa Rubio Márquez (@VRubioMarquez) is Professor in Practice at the School of Public Policy at LSE.

Andrés Velasco (@AndresVelasco) is Professor of Public Policy and Dean of the School of Public Policy at LSE.

More about this event

The LSE School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) equips you with the skills and ideas to transform people and societies. It is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Their approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

You can order the book, Reclaiming Populism: how economic fairness can win back disenchanted voters, (UK delivery only) from our official LSE Events independent book shop, Pages of Hackney.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEPopulism

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Reclaiming Populism: how economic fairness can win back disenchanted voters.

A video of this event is available to watch at Reclaiming Populism: how economic fairness can win back disenchanted voters.


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