Polluting the Reservoir: Conditions of Threat and Support for Democracy in Mexico and the United States
19 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2009 Last revised: 18 Nov 2009
Date Written: August 3, 2009
We are currently in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in U.S. history, and the effects have been felt around the globe, particularly for our neighbors to the south. To date, dialogue among pundits has centered on economic statistics and trends as well as steps governments are taking to address the situation. The crisis may have effects that reach beyond performance indicators and policy decisions, to the mass public’s support for democratic values and institutions. In this paper we investigate the extent to which economic threats affect support for democracy, its institutions, and its practices. We further investigate the ways in which these relationships vary across an established and newer democracy, the United States and Mexico, as well as by emotional reactions to the threat. We argue that times of economic threat can decrease support for democracy, especially among newer democracies. We explore support for these arguments using data generated from an on-line experiment with subjects from the U.S. and Mexico in April of 2009.
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