Communist Legacies and Left-Authoritarianism

Grigore Pop-Eleches, Joshua A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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


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