Critical Citizens Revisited: The Impact of Policy Performance, Process Performance and Cultural Modernization on Democratic Orientations

Posted: 19 Jul 2010

See all articles by Pippa Norris

Pippa Norris

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); University of Sydney

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Despite the widespread popular assumption that economic hard times deepen citizen dissatisfaction with democracy, systematic evidence supporting this proposition remains scattered and piecemeal. To consider these issues, Part I of this study summarizes contemporary debates arising from alternative theories based on the impact of policy performance, process performance and cultural modernization on democratic orientations, including democratic satisfaction, democratic aspirations, and the net democratic deficit (the gap between aspirations and satisfaction), and outlines the core testable propositions flowing from each. Part II sets out the research design and the evidence drawing upon the fifth wave of the World Values Survey in more than fifty nations (2005-7). Multilevel regression models are used to test the cross-national evidence. Part III presents the key findings which emerge from the study. The results confirm process performance accounts; citizens are usually far happier with how democracy works in regimes which experts rate as democratic, stable, clean, effective, and governed by rule of law. By contrast, democratic satisfaction was more weakly predicted by policy performance, including most economic measures, and the evidence supporting cultural modernization theories proved more mixed and ambiguous. The conclusion considers the implications.

Keywords: democracy, systems support, economic performance, political culture

Suggested Citation

Norris, Pippa, Critical Citizens Revisited: The Impact of Policy Performance, Process Performance and Cultural Modernization on Democratic Orientations (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1644546

Pippa Norris (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1475 (Phone)
617-496-2850 (Fax)

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

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