Allison Carnegie, Director, Politics and Global Economy (PaGE) Lab, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Richard Clark, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, Princeton University

Lisa Fan, PhD Student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

Research Assistant:

Aleksandra Gracheva, Saltzman Student Scholar, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies


A burgeoning literature concludes that populism spells the death knell for international organizations (IOs). These organizations are staffed by global elites, who populists pit against the “pure people.” In this paper, we explore whether IOs can fight back against the populist threat by portraying themselves as populist agents. Using new twitter data along with original survey experiments that manipulate how IOs are characterized, we find that IOs can boost populists’ perceptions of their image and workings under certain circumstances. Our findings suggest that IOs may be better able to withstand the global resurgence of populism better than is commonly expected.