Effective government and evaluations of democracy

Claassen, C. and Magalhães, P. C. (2022) Effective government and evaluations of democracy. Comparative Political Studies, 55(5), pp. 869-894. (doi: 10.1177/00104140211036042)

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Ineffective governance is known to weaken support for governments and leaders. However, it is less clear whether these effects spill over to the regime and erode support for the democratic system. This article returns to this classic question, now using time-series, cross-sectional data to test whether the effectiveness of governments in sustaining economic growth, providing quality healthcare, and tackling violent crime affects popular attitudes to democracy. We find that satisfaction with democracy is driven by fluctuations in economic performance and violent crime (but not healthcare quality). Diffuse support for democracy, in contrast, remains relatively impervious to changes in government effectiveness. Violent crime is the only indicator of effectiveness which has an impact on democratic support, and does so indirectly, via its influence on democratic satisfaction. These findings confirm that democratic support—which, unlike democratic satisfaction, is thought to help sustain democracy—is mostly immune to crises of performance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Claassen, Dr Christopher
Authors: Claassen, C., and Magalhães, P. C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Comparative Political Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-3829
Published Online:19 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Comparative Political Studies 55(5): 869-894
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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