Please join us onWednesday, February 10th, for a meeting of the Columbia University Comparative Politics Seminar, co-sponsored with ILAS. The seminar will run from 12:30 until 1:45 p.m.
Our speaker will be Amy Erica Smith (Columbia University) who will present a paper she co-authored titled "Rejecting Authoritarianism: When Values are Endogenous to Politics".
Abstract: As politicians with authoritarian tendencies win elections globally, it becomes urgent to understand the social psychological etiology of support for such candidates. Prior research identifies authoritarian parenting values as a likely predictor of vote choice. We argue that elections featuring authoritarian candidates might also impact such attitudes, as voters take cues from elites. This paper assesses the evolution of authoritarian parenting values over Brazil’s 2018 presidential campaign. Analyzing AmericasBarometer data and a five-wave panel study, we find, consistent with prior literature, that authoritarian parenting attitudes early in the campaign predict the eventual vote for authoritarian candidate Bolsonaro. However, contrary to views of authoritarian parenting as a stable, exogenous disposition, these attitudes polarize over the campaign. Furthermore, this evolution is not consistent with prior scholarship on how authoritarian values respond to threat: evolution is limited to Bolsonaro’s opponents, who become increasingly anti-authoritarian. The results call for a reconsideration of authoritarianism in the public.