Journal article

"Our Country Needs a Strong Leader Right Now": Economic Inequality Enhances the Wish for a Strong Leader

Stefanie Sprong, Jolanda Jetten, Zhechen Wang, Kim Peters, Frank Mols, Maykel Verkuyten, Brock Bastian, Amarina Ariyanto, Frederique Autin, Nadia Ayub, Constantina Badea, Tomasz Besta, Fabrizio Butera, Rui Costa-Lopes, Lijuan Cui, Carole Fantini, Gillian Finchilescu, Lowell Gaertner, Mario Gollwitzer, Angel Gomez Show all

Psychological Science | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 2019


Societal inequality has been found to harm the mental and physical health of its members and undermine overall social cohesion. Here, we tested the hypothesis that economic inequality is associated with a wish for a strong leader in a study involving 28 countries from five continents (Study 1, N = 6,112), a study involving an Australian community sample (Study 2, N = 515), and two experiments (Study 3a, N = 96; Study 3b, N = 296). We found correlational (Studies 1 and 2) and experimental (Studies 3a and 3b) evidence for our prediction that higher inequality enhances the wish for a strong leader. We also found that this relationship is mediated by perceptions of anomie, except in the case of ..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies

Awarded by Center for Inter-cultural and Indigenous Research

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant (DP170101008), the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (15130009), and the Center for Inter-cultural and Indigenous Research (15110006).