Democracy is an acquired taste

Democracies depend on the support of the general population, but little is known about the determinants of this support. This paper analyzes whether support for democracy increases with the length of time spent under the system, and whether preferences are thus affected by the political system. Relying on 380,000 individual-level observations from 104 countries over the years 1994 to 2013, and exploiting individual-level variation within a country and a given year in the length of time spent under democracy, we find evidence that political preferences are endogenous. For new democracies, our findings imply that popular support needs time to develop. To illustrate: the effect of around 8.5 more years of democratic experience corresponds to the difference in support for democracy between primary and secondary education.

That is from Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln and Matthias Schündeln (pdf), two underrated but very much on the rise economists.  Here is the home page of Nicola, here is the home page of Matthias.  Here is Nicola’s paper, with Paolo Macella, on the persistent effects of socialist education (pdf).


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