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




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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  • Robert Andersen, 2012. "GINI DP 47: Support for Democracy in Cross-National Perspective: The Detrimental Effect of Economic Inequality," GINI Discussion Papers 47, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aia:ginidp:47

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:53:y:1959:i:01:p:69-105_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Evans, Geoffrey & Whitefield, Stephen, 1995. "The Politics and Economics of Democratic Commitment: Support for Democracy in Transition Societies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 485-514, October.
    3. Lane Kenworthy & Jonas Pontusson, 2005. "Rising Inequality and the Politics of Redistribution in Affluent Countries," LIS Working papers 400, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Anna S. Burger, 2015. "Extreme working hours in Western Europe and North America: A new aspect of polarization," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 92, European Institute, LSE.
    2. Anna S. Burger, 2015. "Extreme Working Hours in Western Europe and North America: A New Aspect of Polarization," LIS Working papers 649, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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