Fundamentalism and Democracy: A Dynamic Perspective

Luca Correani

Abstract


We analyse the dynamics of the distribution of democratic values in a population where
agents have heterogeneous preferences about democracy, distinguishing between
fundamentalist-antidemocratic agents and pro-democracy agents. Cultural traits and norms
are acquired through a process of intergenerational cultural transmission and socialization.
The driving force in the equilibrium selection process is the education effort exerted by
parents; this depends on the distribution of democratic values in the population and on
expectations about future policies affecting formal and informal institutions.
The main result is that when fundamentalism is sufficiently diffused in all institutional
dimensions of social life, the imposition of formal democratic rules do not significantly affect
social preferences. On the other hand the model shows how a cruel fundamentalist
dictatorship cannot wholly destroy democratic preferences in the population; the sole result is
a fictitious homologation of manifested attitudes, with no preferences dynamics and the
previous real attitudes immediately emerging as soon as dictatorship falls.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/rae.v8i4.10060

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