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Is Popular Support for Autocracy a Problem of Information? An Experimental Approach in Hungary

A wealth of recent political science research focuses on how media consolidation under state rule can exacerbate democratic erosion, among other things by limiting access to narratives that counter the government’s viewpoint. Hungary is one of the most frequently cited examples of this corrosive media effect. We disagree with the corrosion hypothesis, and seek to test the individual-level effects of providing information that counters the government narrative through a survey experiment. This lecture will describe the problem, our proposal, and what we expect to discover.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jason Wittenberg is professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Academy Scholar at Harvard University, he has been a Fulbright scholar at the Central European University in Budapest, a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, and a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. Professor Wittenberg’s broad area of focus is the politics and history of Eastern Europe. He has published widely on topics including electoral behavior, ethnic and religious violence, historical legacies, and empirical research methods. His first book, Crucibles of Political Loyalty: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary (Cambridge, 2006), won the 2009 Hubert Morken award for the best political science book published on religion and politics. He is the co-author, most recently, of Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust (Cornell, 2018), winner of the 2019 Bronislaw Malinowski Award in the Social Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current work focuses on historical persistence.


February 16, 2023


12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

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