Support for autocratic leaders: Culture, environment, and transmission
Cross-cultural differences are commonly invoked to explain cross-country variability in followers’ support for autocratic leaders, that is, political or organizational leaders who concentrate all decision power in their hands. However, culture—broadly defined as the prevailing beliefs held by a social group—correlates with many contextual factors (e.g., geography, political and educational systems, economic environment), making it especially complex to isolate cultural effects from other confounds. To cope with this problem, in this preliminary study I employ the so-called “epidemiological approach”, which compares individuals with different cultural backgrounds living in the same environment. Specifically, I use secondary data to study if migrants’ support for autocratic political leaders relate to the average autocratic implicit leadership theories of migrants’ countries of birth. Then, I explore the inter-generational transmission of the support for autocratic leaders employing second-generation migrants’ data (i.e., children of migrants). The results underline an important temporal and contextual persistence of autocratic leader support, which seems to be transmitted also through a vertical channel (i.e., parents to children).