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Is electoral punishment important for democracy? The role of social capital and religious resources


  • Ambra, Poggi


Electoral punishment is the main instrument that citizens have to keep government accountable, answerable and accessible to the people they serve. The aim of this paper is to empirically investigate whether individual social resources - social capital and religious resources - may enhance the probability that individuals value electoral punishment important for democracy. We use data from the 2012 European Social Survey Multilevel Data and a multilevelapproach. Our findings lend support to the view that social resources matter in determining the importance of electoral punishment, even if the importance of each resource varies across countries. Social capital has a complex effect on the importance of electoral punishment: trust reduces the probability that individuals value electoral punishment, while social participation increases it. Religious resources result negatively correlated with the importance of electoral punishment suggesting that loyalty versus religious values and traditions imply unconditional citizens’ support for government. Finally, some religions seem to have a specific role in enhancing the importance of electoral punishment confirming an active role of religious values and authorities in shaping individual political behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ambra, Poggi, 2017. "Is electoral punishment important for democracy? The role of social capital and religious resources," Working Papers 368, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 19 Jul 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:368

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    electoral punishment; religion; social capital; poverty; multi-level models;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values

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