Egalitarianism and the democratic deconsolidation: Is democracy compatible with socialism?
The unprecedented reduction in popular support for democracy represents a risk of democratic deconsolidation. The new situation echoes old debates on the compatibility of democracy with capitalism and socialism. This article provides empirical support for the incompatibility of socialism with democracy by providing evidence suggesting that when citizens adopt egalitarianism as a supreme value, they are ready to sacrifice democracy for the sake of equality. Using individual data, we observe that the decline in support for democracy over generations and over time is accompanied by rising support for egalitarian values in US and European democracies. Moreover, democracies with stronger preferences for egalitarianism also have less public support for democracy, suggesting a tradeoff between both values.
KeywordsDemocracy Deconsolidation Egalitarianism Millennials
JEL ClassificationD31 D72 G38
We thank Vivekananda Mukherjee, Martin Paldam and the other participants at the Silvaplana Workshop of Political Economy 2019 for very helpful comments. Any remaining errors are ours.
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