CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Support For Authoritarianism: The Case of Augusto Pinochet

Alina Mizrahi, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Dorothy Kronick

Date of this Version: 01 January 2020



Why do people support repressive and authoritarian leaders? In many Latin American countries, as well as other countries around the world, people vote for and support leaders who have infringed on their human rights. In 1973, Augusto Pinochet staged a coup in Chile and seized power for over sixteen years. Although Pinochet’s regime was brutal and repressive, numerous Chilean citizens still profess their support for him. This paper investigates the variables that predict support for Pinochet in Chile. This is done using surveys carried out in 1988, 1991, and 1999 by the Centro de Estudios Públicos in Chile. The correlates of support for Pinochet are investigated using an ordinary least squares regression model. This work finds that preferring authority/order over liberty drives support for Pinochet more significantly than demographic variables and concern for unemployment. Concerns over crime or corruption seem to drive support for Pinochet to a lesser extent. Further, this paper finds that demographic variables and concerns for crime, corruption, or unemployment do not consistently predict preference for authority/order. Recent research suggests that economic and social polarization as well as uncertainty drive support for authoritarians. However, the results presented in this paper suggest that the people who support Pinochet could be doing so because they simply prefer authoritarian forms of government over democratic ones on an ideological level.


Other Political Science | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Suggested Citation

Mizrahi, Alina, "Support For Authoritarianism: The Case of Augusto Pinochet" 01 January 2020. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 10 June 2020




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