Dictators and Their Subjects: Authoritarian Attitudinal Effects and Legacies

Anja Neundorf, Grigore Pop-Eleches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This introductory essay outlines the key themes of the special issue on the long-term impact of autocracies on the political attitudes and behavior of their subjects. Here, we highlight several important areas of theoretical and empirical refinements, which can provide a more nuanced picture of the process through which authoritarian attitudinal legacies emerge and persist. First, we define the nature of attitudinal legacies and their driving mechanisms, developing a framework of competing socialization. Second, we use the competing socialization framework to explain two potential sources of heterogeneity in attitudinal and behavioral legacies: varieties of institutional features of authoritarian regimes, which affect the nature of regime socialization efforts; and variations across different subgroups of (post-)authoritarian citizens, which reflect the nature and strength of alternative socialization efforts. This new framework can help us to better understand contradictory findings in this emerging literature as well as set a new agenda for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1839-1860
Number of pages22
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • authoritarian legacies
  • authoritarian regimes
  • indoctrination
  • political behavior


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