ESOC Working Paper 24: Economic Conditions and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Extremism

Publication Year
ESOC Working Paper Series

This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti democratic extremist groups. The effect is concentrated in states with high pre-existing racial resentment, as proxied by racist web searches, and strongest for the male unemployment rate and the white unemployment rate. If unemployment had remained at its pre-recession level, the increase in anti-democratic groups between 2007 and 2010 could have been reduced by more than 60%.


Crost, B. (2021). Economic Conditions and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Extremism (ESOC Working Paper No. 24). Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. Retrieved [March 2021], from

Publication Topic
Politics and Public Opinion
Publication Type
ESOC Working Paper