The Primacy of Performance for Regime Support: Evidence from A Global Dataset

37 Pages Posted: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Chengyuan Ji

Chengyuan Ji

Shanghai Jiao Tong University - School of International and Public Affairs,

Junyan Jiang

Columbia University

Date Written: April 7, 2020

Abstract

Popular support is essential to the long-term survival of all political systems, yet the question of what affects citizens' faith in their political institutions remains debated. We construct a new measure of institutional trust for 130 countries between 1990 and 2017 and use it to evaluate two important theories of regime support: a procedure-based theory that emphasizes the adoption of democratic and rule-based institutions, and a performance-based theory that focuses on governments' effectiveness in delivering concrete and essential public goods. We find strong evidence that performance dominates procedures: Citizens report greater trust in their political systems when the government can achieve rapid economic growth, low unemployment, and domestic stability. However, just having “good” liberal democratic institutions alone does not seem to improve regime support. These findings have important implications for understanding the challenges currently faced by many democracies and the apparent resilience of some non-democracies.

Suggested Citation

Ji, Chengyuan and Jiang, Junyan, The Primacy of Performance for Regime Support: Evidence from A Global Dataset (April 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3570263 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3570263

Chengyuan Ji

Shanghai Jiao Tong University - School of International and Public Affairs, ( email )

R201, Xin Jian Bldg
, No. 1954 Hua Shan Rd. Shanghai
Shanghai, Shanghai 200030
China

Junyan Jiang (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
106
Abstract Views
389
rank
301,138
PlumX Metrics