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On the Preferences for Strong Leadership



This article aims to answer the question of who favors strong political leadership, with a few checks on its power. First, we specify a formal model to generate testable hypotheses on the relationship between income and attitudes toward strong political leadership support. Then, we test these claims using a rich survey of individual attitudes across countries from 1999 to 2004. We present evidence indicating that the support for such strong leadership is inversely related to individual income, even after controlling for additional characteristics, such as education. Individual attitudes toward strong leadership are also inversely related to country‐level indicators such as income inequality, level of GDP per capita, and institutional characteristics.

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