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15.02.2021 | Ausgabe 1-2/2021 Open Access

Public Choice 1-2/2021

Is there a demand for autocracies in Europe? Comparing the attitudes of Hungarian and Italian university students toward liberal democratic values inspired by János Kornai

Public Choice > Ausgabe 1-2/2021
Miklós Rosta, László Tóth
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In the European Union right-wing and left-wing populist parties are increasingly becoming stronger. Meanwhile in Central and Eastern Europe autocracies are emerging and becoming stabilized. Italy and Hungary are two notable examples of these processes. Italy is the only country in Western Europe where a coalition of purely populist parties won an election, while Hungary has the most mature autocracy in the European Union. By using survey methodology, we examined the preferences of Hungarian and Italian students regarding the values of liberal democracy. We seek answers to the questions whether there are any significant differences between the proportion of Hungarian students and Italian students who identify themselves with the values of liberal democracy and which of these values of liberal democracy they consider to be protected values. Based on our results, we claim that students from both countries are more likely to support liberal democratic values than to support either right-wing or left-wing populist values, even if the distributions of the two groups differ significantly. We found that Italian students adhere more strongly to liberal democratic values, while Hungarians are more open to left-wing and right-wing populism. Our results confirm that in Hungary, because of the values that many people hold, conditions are conducive for establishing a sustainable autocracy, while in Italy, the demand for such a system is much weaker.
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