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 -