Does public support help democracy survive?

Claassen, C. (2020) Does public support help democracy survive? American Journal of Political Science, 64(1), pp. 118-134. (doi: 10.1111/ajps.12452)

183785.pdf - Accepted Version



It is widely believed that democracy requires public support to survive. The empirical evidence for this hypothesis is weak, however, with existing tests resting on small cross‐sectional samples and producing contradictory results. The underlying problem is that survey measures of support for democracy are fragmented across time, space, and different survey questions. In response, this article uses a Bayesian latent variable model to estimate a smooth country‐year panel of democratic support for 135 countries and up to 29 years. The article then demonstrates a positive effect of support on subsequent democratic change, while adjusting for the possible confounding effects of prior levels of democracy and unobservable time‐invariant factors. Support is, moreover, more robustly linked with the endurance of democracy than its emergence in the first place. As Lipset (1959) and Easton (1965) hypothesized over 50 years ago, public support does indeed help democracy survive.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Claassen, Dr Christopher
Authors: Claassen, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:American Journal of Political Science
ISSN (Online):1540-5907
Published Online:31 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright ©2019 Midwest Political Science Association
First Published:First published in American Journal of Political Science 64(1): 118-134
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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