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Mass Attitudes to Democracy: Approaches and Assumptions

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  1. Mass Attitudes to Democracy: Approaches and Assumptions Vanessa Liston Dept. of Political Science Trinity College Dublin Ireland 18th June 2010

  2. Political Culture • Attitudes (Almond and Verba, Inglehart & Welzel, Putnam) • Behaviours/Ways of relating (Chilton, 1988) “Culture is what is publicly expected and subscribed to, not what is individually preferred”. • Practical Norms (Olivier de Sardan, 2008) Wilson (2000) The many voices of political culture World Politics 52

  3. Bratton, M. and Mattes, R (2007) Learning about democracy in Africa: Awareness, Performance, and Experience American Journal of Political Science 51:1

  4. Demand for Democracy • Support for principle: • Democracy is preferable to any other form of government • In certain situations another form of government can be preferable • To people like me it doesn’t matter. • Rejection of alternatives: • Strong leader • Military rule • One political party

  5. Supply of Democracy • In your opinion how much of a democracy is (your country) today? • Generally, how satisfied are you with the way democracy works in (your country)?

  6. Political Learning Theory Attitudes to democracy (supply and demand) -> individual and national differences in what citizens learn from short/medium and long term experience about what it does. • cognitive factors • national legacies • performance

  7. Cultural School • Communal. 1. sense of individual responsibility 2. sense of risk tolerance. • Poltical community. National Identity • Group identity: Traditional /Modern identity • Civic Attitudes: Interpersonal trust

  8. Social Structure • Class position • Lived poverty • Age • Rural/urban status • Gender • Belong to numerically dominant ethnic group

  9. Institutional Influence • Members of organisations • Partisan id • Identify with winning party • They test participation • voted in most recent election • participated politically between elections (working for candidate, party, contacting leaders, formal or informal etc.) • took part in a demonstration.

  10. Performance theory • micro-macro economic evaluations • government policy performance and • structural adjustment creates inequality.

  11. Bratton and Mattes claim • People consider delivery of political goods as well as economic ones. • They compare with previous regimes (long and medium term) • Cognitive awareness of politics and procedural aspects of democracy they may develop intrinsic attachments to it

  12. Their political learning theory Differences in demand and perceived supply of democracy should be predicted by individual learning experiences, nationally shaped. political learning -> basis of attitudes -> democratic consolidation

  13. Three dimensions • Political Goods • Regime Comparison • Previous regime • Long term regime experience (Life-time, generational and collective learning models) • Cognitive Awareness • Formal education • Use of news media

  14. Political Goods • freeness and fairness of last election • ability to speak their mind • whether they and their group receive fair treatment • government corruption • government responsiveness • performance of elected representatives • performance of the president • trustworthiness of state institutions

  15. Regime Comparison • Medium Term • Improved quality of life • Increased political rights • Feel safer • Less government corruption • Long Term • generational learning model (regime 18yrs) • Life-time learning model (years under regimes) • Collective learning (dominant post-colonial regime)

  16. Cognitive Awareness • Measures • Formal education • Cognitive engagement with politics • News media use • Political efficacy • Political information • Understanding of term democracy • Substantive v Procedural understandings

  17. METHODS • Factor analysis • Hierarchical Linear Modelling


  19. Explaining DEMAND Demand is based on principle Cognitive Awareness Culture: Risk Tolerance Economy Democracy Regime Comparison +Political Rights Political Goods + Gov. Responsiveness Collective Learning + Legacy of competition

  20. Explaining Perceived SUPPLY No cognitive factors Political Goods + Performance of President + Freeness & Fairness of last election Economy + Economic Evaluations + Government Policy Regime legacy + multiparty legacy + one-party w competition - Settler rule Institutional + Identifies with winning party

  21. Conclusions • “By developing greater cognitive awareness of its processes, through direct experience with the fruits of political performance and through national experiences with political competition, people learn both about the content of democracy as well as its consequences.”

  22. “Africans’ positions in the social structure, their cultural values, and their institutional affiliations have little to offer in directly explaining how they think about democracy”.

  23. Issue 1. Perception v ‘Reality’ of SUPPLY • “Democracy has a low probability of breakdown where two conditions • Citizens demand democracy • Judge that they are being supplied with it (leaders have internalized and follow democray’s institutional rules) • “Perceptions of the supply of democracy will be more salient to democracy’s actual prospects than any objective scores ratings compiled by experts”. • This form of regime will only consolidate if ordinary people judge that democracy is being supplied.

  24. Rhetorical or Logical Argument?

  25. Kaufmann and Kraay (2008) Governance Indicators: Where are we Where should we be going?, The World Bank Research Observer

  26. Objective indicators are not used • Has to be supplied for people to believe it is supplied. Is it being supplied? • There are two main points to consider : • Judgement implies decision based on Fact or Observation. • Beliefs do not have to be true. Gettier “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?

  27. Issue 2. Survey Data on DEMAND “A sustainable democracy requires citizens who demand democracy”. • Why do African’s demand democracy? • normative measures only used • basis of legitimacy • assumes none other are also legitimate • Instrumental possibility not considered among others • Angelina Haugaerd states that demand for democracy in the early 1990s was “not necessarily more than a convenient cover term or legitimizing symbol for widely varying local political struggles” (Kenya).

  28. Survey data They state they can use survey data to estimate: • Legitimacy: Citizens demand democracy • Institutionalisation: Citizens believe their political institutions produce an acceptable degree of democracy

  29. Elections stakes raised Demand: Intrinsic AND Instrumental possible? (Not within frame of inquiry. See inner/loser gaps later) DEMOCRACY Access to state resources Issue of resource scarity Patronage Group inequalities Citizens

  30. Cross-sectional data

  31. Source: Afrobarometer (2009) Popular Attitudes toward Democracy in Kenya: A Summary of Afrobarometer Indicators, 2003-2008

  32. End of history Are you happy with the way democracy works? Low probability of breakdown where there is demand and perceived supply. What about • control over violence • no other legitimate systems • false beliefs • belief reality gaps

  33. Democrats with Adjectives Andreas Schedler & Rodolfo Sarsfield (2007) European Journal of Political Research 46: 637-659

  34. Measures Anchor Variable: “What do you think is better for the country: Democracy that respects the rights of all persons or dictatorship that guarantees economic progress even without respecting the rights of all persons”

  35. 5 indicators of liberal democracy • Freedom of organisation • Freedom of expression • Freedom of expression (Pluralism of opinion on TV) • Political equality (Indigenous participation) • Political equality (Gay participation)

  36. Hierarchical Cluster Analysis • Maximise in-group similarity, between group dis-similarity • 3,099 (67.6% of cases) • 6 clusters • Table : 1 = authoritarian 2 = ambiguous 3 = democratic/liberal

  37. Enhancing the validity & Cross-Cultural Comparability of Measurement in Survey Research Gary King, Christopher J.L. Murray, Joshua A. Salomon, Ajay Tandon (2004) American Political Science Review Feb: 2004; 98, 1

  38. Follow up papers: • 2010 Improving Anchoring Vignettes: Designing Surveys to Correct Interpersonal Incomparability Manuscript, Harvard University, 2008 • Comparing Incomparable Survey Responses: Evaluating and Selecting Anchoring Vignettes, Political Analysis (2006) • Anchors: Software for Anchoring Vignette Data Journal of Statistical Software, 2007

  39. Example: Reported Morbidity US ++++ Morbidity (higher than Kerala)

  40. How to correct • Adjust using ‘Vingettes’ that represent increasing levels of political efficacy of hypothetical individuals. • Example • Alison (score 5 – highest efficacy) • Moses (score 1 – lowest efficacy)

  41. Critical Citizens and Submissive Subjects Devra C. Moehler (2009) British Journal of Political Science, 39: 345 - 366

  42. Premise • Elections are supposed to bolster legitimacy, engender compliance, moderate dissent and heighten citizen efficacy • Do elections fulfil these functions in Africa? • Or is there a difference between winners and losers? • If yes, is that because of perceptions of electoral integrity?

  43. Hypothesized effect of winner status with evaluation of electoral integrity (med)

  44. In other words….. • Winners believe their government institutions are more legitimate than losers (or independents) • Where there is a gap in legitimacy this can be explained by evaluations of election fairness.