This is the official page of the PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2016-0729 project , financed by the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research.

A near consensus has emerged that Europe has slipped into a “democratic recession” in which new and old democracies alike have fallen victim to a “powerful authoritarian undertow”. At the same time, a growing gap between the rich and the poor has become a pressing global challenge.

This project considers the facts of democratic recession and rising income inequality to be interdependent and aims to strengthen the models used to discern these interrelated phenomena and to inform public policy makers in diagnosing and proposing solutions to some of Romania's most pressing problems.

This project has three main interrelated aims: (1) to reevaluate which attitudes and norms matter for democratization, (2) to assess the effects of several types of inequality and polarization on democratic culture, (3) to identify policies that are effective in reducing inequality and polarization.

The research design, based on panel survey data, experimental data and semi-structured interviews, seeks to triangulate the data in order to establish causal direction between democratic attitudes and inequality and polarization. Additionally, the research will capture detailed information both at the individual and intermediate (mezzo) levels, such as locality and region, and in the case of youth, at the school class level and school, by combining survey data with census data at locality level, and with a comprehensive database of the Romanian schools.

Academically, the project aims to plug a substantial gap in conventional approaches to democratic stability by testing for the effects of polarization on the suspected causal generators of de-democratization. In terms of its impact on policymakers, the project will provide systematic answers to a pressing policy issue: How can de-democratization be prevented by feasible and affordable public policies?

Project director

Gabriel Bădescu -


Cornel Ban -

Jozsef Benedek -

Florin Feșnic -

Titus Man

Daniela Angi -

Toma Burean -

PhD Students

Andreea Vornicu -

Sorana Constantinescu -

Oddný Helgadóttir -


Working papers

Sum, Paul, Bădescu, Gabriel, 2018. Does inequality erode cooperation in the classroom? Evidence from PISA 2015. Center for the Study of Democracy Working Paper Series. May 2018

Policy research

Gabriel Bădescu (coord.), Georgiana Mihuț, Paul Sum. 2018. Reforma învățământului superior în România: propuneri de schimbări pentru un sistem onest, eficient și incluziv. Policy Brief. Hanns Seidel Stiftung.

Gabriel Bădescu, Oana Negru-Subțirică, Daniela Angi, Claudiu Ivan. 2017. Profesor în România. Cine, de ce, în ce fel contribuie la educația elevilor în școlile românești? (Teacher in Romania. Who, why, and how contributes to the students’ education in the Romanian schools). Friedrich Ebert Stiftung România.

Academic publications

Ban, Cornel (2018). Dependent Development and Its Contradictions: Romanian Capitalism after the Great Recession. West European Politics.

Bodocan, V., Benedek, J., Rusu, R. (2018) Twenty first century cities: from global challenges to local responses. In: Solarz Wojchieh Marcin (ed.) New geographies of the globalized world. Routledge Studies in Human Geography, p. 77-92. 256 p. Routledge, New York.

Benedek J. (ed.) (2018) Stories from different worlds. Rural areas between economic reconversion and peripheralization. Transylvanian Review, vol. XXVII, Suppl. No. 1, 117-198.

Benedek J., IVAN K. (2018) Remote sensing based assessment of variation of spatial disparities. Geographia technica, 13:1, 1-9.

Benedek J., Sebestyén T., Bartók B. (2018) Evaluation of renewable energy sources in peripheral areas and renewable energy-based rural development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 90:7, 516-535.

Burean, Toma. 2018. Policy and voting preferences of Romanian migrants 2000-2016. Political Preferences. No. 19. 5-29. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.6726899

Nagy J., Benedek J. (2018) Towards a balanced metropolitan governance: combating the “back-door” status of peripheral rural areas. Transylvanian Review, 27:1, 3-20.

Sum, Paul, Gabriel Bădescu, 2018. Does inequality erode generalized trust? Evidence from Romanian youths. Acta Politica.


For general questions contact project coordinator Gabriel Badescu.

Facultatea de Stiinte Politice, Administrative si ale Comunicarii, Universitatea Babes-Bolyai.

str. Minerilor nr. 85, 400409, Cluj-Napoca, Romania