External seminars

The full list of speakers for 2021-2022 will be announced shortly.

#1 Sirio Lonati (Neoma Business School)

Support for autocratic leadership: Context, culture, and transmission

Tuesday, October 26, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30 (via Zoom)


Abstract below

Differences in national culture are commonly invoked to explain cross-country variability in the support for autocratic leaders, that is, leaders who concentrate all decision power in their hands. However, national culture—broadly defined as the prevailing beliefs that are transmitted across generations in a country—correlates with many other contextual factors (e.g., formal institutions), making it complex to isolate purely cultural effects from related confounds. To model how national culture affects the support for autocratic leadership over time and across contexts, this study employs an empirical strategy based on migrants’ data, that is, individuals with different cultural backgrounds who now live in the same country. I first construct a novel measure of support for autocratic leadership using secondary data, showing its correlation with validated measures of autocratic organizational leadership, centralized organizational structures, and acceptance of hierarchy. Then, I show that migrants’ support for autocratic leadership correlates with the culturally-endorsed autocratic implicit leadership theories (i.e., the average “preferences” for autocratic leadership) prevalent in migrants’ countries of birth. Additional analyses confirm a similar pattern, suggesting both a limited cultural assimilation and an inter-generational transmission of the support for autocratic leadership from first- to second-generation migrants (i.e., native individuals with at least a foreign parent). These relationships—based on more than 10’000 individuals representing more than 60 national cultures—hold after controlling for several covariates and country fixed effects, and indicate that deeply held cultural beliefs can affect the support for autocratic leadership even in the case of substantial and swift contextual changes.