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Andreas KOTSADAM (University of Oslo) – The Social Transmission of Authoritarian Regime Preferences: Evidence from Field and Survey Experiments
Sociology seminar – Thursdays
Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Date: 17th October 2023
Place: room 1003 + ZOOM
Andreas Kotsadam (University of Oslo) – The Social Transmission of Authoritarian Regime Preferences: Evidence from Field and Survey Experiments
We explore the social basis of authoritarian orientations, proposing that the social environment shapes anti-democratic regime preferences for a strong leader. We test this proposition through a pre-registered field and survey experiment in the Norwegian Armed Forces, randomly assigning soldiers to different rooms. We find that individuals accurately perceive the opinion climate in their rooms and that, more importantly, many individuals changed their own privately reported authoritarian attitudes in line with with their peers. In particular, random assignment to roommates with higher levels of authoritarian orientations increased soldiers’ own authoritarianism. Further survey-experimental evidence among soldiers and the general population confirms that learning about others’ authoritarianism levels changed both perceptions and attitudes. Our results suggest that authoritarian regime preferences have a social basis rather than only being a deeply held orientation, and that desires for a strong leader could spread by social contagion in established democracies.
Organizers: Annina Cleasson, Paola Tubaro, Patrick Präg (CREST Sociology unit)