Public Opinion and Democratic Legitimacy

Issue Date April 2008
Volume 19
Issue 2
Page Numbers 74-87
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This paper examines on a global scale how important it is for young democracies to deliver economic welfare to win the hearts of their citizens. A decoupling of popular support for democratic form of government from economic performance is believed to be conducive to the consolidation of young democracies. We found an encouraging global pattern that clearly shows evaluations of economic condition are relatively unimportant in explaining level of popular support for democracy. However, high-income East Asian countries register a glaring exception to this global generalization, suggesting that their distinctive trajectory of regime transition has imposed on democratic regimes an additional burden of sustaining a record of miraculous economic growth of the past.

About the Authors

Yun-han Chu

Yun-han Chu was an academician of Academia Sinica, where he was also Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Political Science, and professor of political science at National Taiwan University.

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Michael Bratton

Michael Bratton is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and African Studies at Michigan State University. He is a founder of the Afrobarometer and the author of Public Opinion, Democracy, and Markets in Africa (2005).

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Mark Tessler

Mark Tessler is Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Arab Barometer Survey.

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Marta Lagos

Marta Lagos is the founding director of Latinobarómetro Corporation.

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Sandeep Shastri

Sandeep Shastri is director of the International Academy for Creative Teaching, Bangalore, and a founding member of the State of Democracy in South Asia Project.

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