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GINI DP 47: Support for Democracy in Cross-National Perspective: The Detrimental Effect of Economic Inequality

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    Using survey data and national statistics on 35 modern democracies, this research explores the relationship between economic and political conditions and support for democracy. As expected from modernization theory, support for democracy tends to be highest in countries with a high level of economic development. More importantly, however, I contribute a new finding that income inequality matters much more. Specifically, citizens from countries with relatively low levels of income inequality tend to be more likely than others to support democracy. I also find that household income is positively related to support for democracy in most countries, though it tends to have its strongest effect if economic development is high and income inequality is low. Finally, even after taking into account the level of economic development in one’s country, people from former Communist countries tends to have far less support for democracy than those from more established democracies.

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    Paper provided by AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies in its series GINI Discussion Papers with number 47.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:aia:ginidp:47
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    1. Robert Andersen & Anthony Heath, 2003. "Social identities and political cleavages: the role of political context," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 166(3), pages 301-327.
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