New PhD student at the

Lasse Egendal Leipziger is new PhD student at the Department

03.03.2020 | Birgit Kanstrup

Recent decades have seen a trend toward growing economic inequality, especially in North America, China, Russia, India and to some extent Europe. Meanwhile, the world is experiencing a reduction in global democracy levels, whose causes are still poorly understood. This has given renewed relevance to an old puzzle concerning the link between inequality and democracy: Are unequal democracies more likely to experience democratic backsliding or even break down and revert to authoritarianism? Is an economically unequal society compatible with a well-functioning democracy?

Given the challenges the literature has faced, we know relatively little about whether economically equal societies are more likely to democratize, sustain democratic rule and achieve higher levels of democracy. This lack of clear-cut findings is particularly interesting given how often the purported corrosive effect of economic inequality on democracy is raised in public debates – for instance as an explanation of the surge of rise of right- and left wing populism.

In my project, I seek to investigate the impact of economic inequality on the stability and quality of democracy. The aim is twofold: (1) to contribute to the research agenda on the relationship between inequality and democratic stability and quality, (2) to examine the potential connection between economic inequality and the current global autocratization trend.

After obtaining my Master’s Degree in Political Science from Aarhus University, I studied one year at Harvard Kennedy School as a Crown Prince Frederik Scholar. Subsequently, I worked one and half years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Svend-Erik Skaaning and Kees van Kersbergen will supervise my project.

I look forward to meeting you all!