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Legitimacy, Crisis, and an Evaluation of What Contemporary Democracies Should Deliver: An Elite-Mass Analysis

Fri, August 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hynes, 104


Studies of democratisation and values have mainly focused on regime legitimacy, which primarily translates into support for democracy. However, support for a regime does not indicate what people are expecting from that regime. This leaves unexplored the meaning and understanding of the functioning of such a regime, in other words, the basis of what democracy supplies. Minimalist definitions of democracy focus on procedures, political liberties and civil rights, whereas substantive definitions go beyond this and focus on how such a regime improves the lives of the citizens regarding their general welfare. The impact of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 allowed us to measure how the political elites and the public of seven countries on four different continents evaluated the importance of political versus economic issues for the level of democracy in their respective countries. The analysis is based on public (World Values Surveys) and political elite surveys in 2006 and 2013 in seven countries (Germany and Sweden as established democracies; and Chile, Poland, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey as consolidating democracies).