Communist Legacies and Left-Authoritarianism

Grigore Pop-Eleches, Joshua A. Tucker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Communist regimes were avowedly leftist authoritarian regimes, a relative rarity among autocracies. The growing literature on regime legacies would lead us to expect that postcommunist citizens would be more likely to exhibit “left-authoritarian” attitudes than their counterparts elsewhere. Finding that this is the case, we rely on 157 surveys from 88 countries to test if a living through Communism legacy model can account for this surplus of left-authoritarian attitudes. Employing both aggregate and micro-level analyses, we find strong support for the predictions of this model. Moving beyond previous legacy studies, we then test a variety of hypothesized mechanisms to explain how exposure to communist rule could have led to the regime congruent left-authoritarian attitudes. Of the mechanisms tested, greater state penetration of society is associated with a strong socialization effect and religious attendance—and in particular attending Catholic religious services—is associated with weaker socialization effects.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1861-1889
    Number of pages29
    JournalComparative Political Studies
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


    • East European politics
    • Russia/former Soviet Union
    • elections
    • nondemocratic regimes
    • public opinion
    • voting behavior

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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