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ECPR Summer School in Methods & Techniques 2020

Exploring the Impact of the Technocratic Experience on Citizens’ Political Trust and Democratic Attitudes

Comparative Politics
European Politics
Eri Bertsou
University of Zurich
Giulia Pastorella
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Eri Bertsou
University of Zurich

This paper looks at citizens’ attitudes towards technocracy, both in its most diffuse form – attitude towards experts – and in its most evident expression – technocratic governments. Firstly, using data from the European Values Survey it analyses attitudes towards expert political decision-making in relation to other democratic attitudes and individual characteristics. Secondly, using Eurobarometer data it tests hypotheses about the impact of technocratic governments appointed since the beginning of the financial crisis, on political trust and democratic satisfaction. Combining country level institutional characteristics with individual data on political attitudes, this paper offers an integrated macro-level and micro-level analysis of technocracy. Contrary to the traditional way of presenting technocracy and democracy as a simple zero-sum game, this paper articulates the complexities of this relationship and argues that technocratic governance can be better understood as a symptom, rather than a cause of the declining quality of European democracy.
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