ECPR General Conference
Université de Montréal, Montreal
26 - 29 August 2015

Perceptions of Democracy: Minority Groups, Inclusivity and Levels of Efficacy and Satisfaction with Democracy

Comparative Politics
Kathleen Dowley
SUNY New Paltz
Kathleen Dowley
SUNY New Paltz

This research seeks to understand the relationship between the rules that structure political competition and salient sub-national groups’ perceptions about democracy. While research on the impact of institutions on the representation of minorities is now quite advanced, what has not been as widely considered is the degree to which institutions potentially structure minority group evaluations of the system. This is an important missing link in the literature relating institutional design to democracy and democratic survival in plural states, both in terms of its “quality” (Lijphart 1999) and its stability (Dahl, 1970). Using CSES data, we examine the impact of political institutions on public attitudes about the quality of democracy in each country for which we could derive an ethnic minority population. We ask whether salient ethnic, linguistic, racial or religious groups in systems with “inclusive” institutions actually express higher levels of efficacy or satisfaction than those in more majoritarian systems.
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"Aristocracies … may preserve themselves longest, but only democracies, which refresh their ruling class, can expand" - Hugh Trevor-Roper

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