Easy Come, Easy Go? Economic Performance and Satisfaction with Democracy in Southern Europe in the Last Three Decades
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In the literature on political support, much empirical effort has been devoted to the link between economic performance and satisfaction with democracy. Nevertheless, analyses are often inconclusive in their findings. This study tries to renew the interest in the topic by using multilevel models to analyse 108 surveys from the repeated cross-sectional Eurobarometer data between 1985 and 2013, and focuses on southern European countries which share political and economic characteristics. Thus, the article links economic trends to changes in satisfaction with democracy in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, also emphasizing the relevance of transformations in their political systems. The results demonstrate that low economic performance seems to negatively affect citizens’ satisfaction with democracy in the four countries and across the whole period analysed. This also holds true for different model specifications and when other potential factors such as the format and the performance of the institutional context are controlled for. By providing empirical evidence based on a longitudinal analysis, this article contributes to the wider debate on how economic conditions influence opinions about democracy.
KeywordsSatisfaction with democracy Economic performance Political institutions Political support Southern Europe Multilevel modelling
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