In this lecture Sergi Pardos-Prado will discuss his recent research on the erosion of liberal democracy in Eastern Europe. Contemporary democracies in Eastern Europe are challenged by the emergence of anti-liberal parties and high levels of democratic dissatisfaction. He will argue in this lecture, that the threat to liberal democracy is linked to the Communist past, and that it operates through economic preferences.
Sergi Pardos-Prado shows in his research, that people become disillusioned with democracy because of their expectations of state intervention in the economy, which was instilled particularly in cohorts socialized during communist planned economies. His findings imply that economic dimensions of political competition are as important as identity and authoritarian politics in understanding anti-democratic backlash in the East.
However, economic preferences in post-communist Europe are rather shaped by early socialization experiences, and not by rational and material calculi. In his research he used cross-national data from the European Social Survey (2002-2016) to test the theories predicting democratic satisfaction and radical right voting. He also presents a case study of Germany using difference-in-difference cohort models confirm the causal link between Communist socialization and today’s political disillusion with democracy. His research contributes to the growing literature on legacies of authoritarian regimes by testing the mechanisms that link dictatorship with emerging populism in new democracies.
Sergi Pardos-Prado is a Full Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Glasgow. Before this, he was an Associate Professor in Politics at Merton College, University of Oxford. He spends most of his time these days conducting research and teaching in the areas of political behaviour, European comparative politics, political economy, and quantitative methods.