Who's in power matters: System justification and system derogation in Hungary between 2002 and 2018

Zsolt Péter Szabó, Jan‐Erik Lönnqvist
Published Online:
16 Feb 2021

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The present study employed European Social Survey (ESS) data collected between 2002 and 2018 to investigate system justification versus derogation in Hungary. In all nine ESS rounds, system derogation was stronger than system justification. System justification was consistently at its strongest among those who had voted for the ruling party, be it left‐wing MSZP (until 2008) or right‐wing Fidesz (2010 onward). This pattern can be explained by ego and group justification motives alone, with no need to posit an autonomous system justification motive. Voters of Jobbik, who were as right‐wing as Fidesz voters, but whose party was not in power, did not believe the system to be any more just than did left‐wing voters. Much of the research supporting system justification theory has been conducted in stable Western democracies. Our results highlight the need for research in more politically volatile contexts.

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