Believing in Conspiracy Theories: Evidence from an Exploratory Analysis of Italian Survey Data
Moreno Mancosu, Salvatore Vassallo & Cristiano Vezzoni
Beliefs in conspiracy theories have attracted significant international media attention in recent years. This phenomenon has been studied in the US but while anecdotal evidence suggests it is also widespread among the Italian public, little evidence has been collected to assess it empirically. Using data from a 2016 survey, this pioneering study of the Italian case investigates the extent of diffusion of conspiracy theories among Italians and tests several hypotheses concerning individual determinants. The paper finds that conspiracism is indeed widely diffused in Italy. It is negatively associated with education and positively with religiosity, while no correlation is found with political trust. Beliefs in conspiracies are also related to rightwing orientation and support for the populist Five Star Movement.