English title: When and where did the great recession erode the support of democracy?

Author(s): Paul Pennings -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2017


It is likely that ten years of economic crisis have eroded the support of democracy in Europe. But how much? The existing research is divided on this issue. Some claim that the degree of satisfaction with democracy has declined across the whole of Europe during the Great Recession. Other researchers have found no empirical evidence that the support of democracy as a core value has declined across Europe. They claim that merely the specific support has decreased in some countries. This article will use the data from the European Social Survey to verify both claims. It shows that the Great Recession did not lead to a legitimacy crisis of European democracies and that the diffuse support of democracy remains high in most regions. The degree to which the specific support of democracy has been weakened is moderated by the type of welfare regime. In countries where the economic crisis did strike hard and the welfare state is weakly developed, the support of democracy has dropped dramatically. This outcome takes a middle position between two extremes in the ongoing academic debate on the support of democracy. Both positions regarding the increase or decrease of support of and satisfaction with democracy are in need of more nuance by taking into account the impact of welfare regimes. Existing research often assumes a uniform European context that shows either increasing or decreasing levels of satisfaction with democracy. Our research has shown that the response of citizens to the Great Recession has been influenced by the welfare regime.

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

From page no: 81

To page no: 103

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1007/S12286-017-0337-X

Journal: Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft

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