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Satisfaction with democracy: when government by the people brings electoral losers and winners together


Leemann, Lucas; Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle (2020). Satisfaction with democracy: when government by the people brings electoral losers and winners together. In: ECPR General Conference, Virtual General Conference 2020, 24 August 2020 - 28 August 2020, European Consortium for Political Research.

Abstract

The last decade has witnessed the raise of populist parties and a number of actors that question liberal democracy. Many explanations of this rely on dissatisfied citizens. We ask in this paper whether and how institutions allowing citizens to participate in policy-making affects differences in democratic satisfaction between varying representative contexts as well as between electoral winners and losers. To do so, we first develop a measure of sub-national direct democracy and then use it together with extensive survey data to investigate how direct democracy is associated with citizens evaluation of their democratic system. We conclude that direct democracy does not make people more satisfied in general but rather that it closes the 'satisfaction-gap' between electoral winners and losers. In contrast to previous research we demonstrate that this mechanism holds across different representative systems.

Abstract

The last decade has witnessed the raise of populist parties and a number of actors that question liberal democracy. Many explanations of this rely on dissatisfied citizens. We ask in this paper whether and how institutions allowing citizens to participate in policy-making affects differences in democratic satisfaction between varying representative contexts as well as between electoral winners and losers. To do so, we first develop a measure of sub-national direct democracy and then use it together with extensive survey data to investigate how direct democracy is associated with citizens evaluation of their democratic system. We conclude that direct democracy does not make people more satisfied in general but rather that it closes the 'satisfaction-gap' between electoral winners and losers. In contrast to previous research we demonstrate that this mechanism holds across different representative systems.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Event End Date:28 August 2020
Deposited On:14 Jan 2021 09:52
Last Modified:01 Mar 2023 07:27
Publisher:European Consortium for Political Research
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/00104140211024302
Related URLs:https://ecpr.eu/Events/156 (Organisation)
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/206232/
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English