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Foa, Roberto Stefan and Mounk, Yascha (2019) DEMOCRATIC DECONSOLIDATION IN DEVELOPED DEMOCRACIES, 1995-2018. CES Open Forum Series 2018-2019. [Working Paper]

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    Until recently, many political scientists had believed that the stability of democracy is assured once certain threshold conditions – prosperity, democratic legitimacy, the development of a robust civil society – were attained. Democracy would then be consolidated, and remain stable. In this article we show that levels of support for democratic governance are not stable over time, even among high-income democracies, and have declined in recent years. In contrast to theories of democratic consolidation, we suggest that just as democracy can come to be “the only game in town” through processes of democratic deepening and the broad-based acceptance of democratic institutions, so too a process of democratic deconsolidation can take place as citizens sour on democratic institutions, become more open to authoritarian alternatives, and vote for anti-system parties. Public opinion measures of democratic deconsolidation are strongly associated with subsequent declines in the actual extent of democratic governance and predict not only recent democratic backsliding in transitional democracies, such as Venezuela or Russia, but also anticipated the downgrades in Freedom House scores occurring across a range of western democracies since 2016.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > France
    Countries > Greece
    Countries > Hungary
    Countries > Italy
    Countries > Latvia
    Countries > Poland
    Countries > Bulgaria
    Countries > Turkey
    Countries > Israel
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Harvard University, Center for European Studies > CES Working Papers/Open Forum
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 10:25
    Number of Pages: 34
    Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 10:25

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