Democracy-Assessment in Cross-National Surveys: A Critical Examination of How People Evaluate Their Regime

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Abstract

Despite doubts regarding their validity and comparability, survey questions relating to the assessment of democracy remain a common feature of cross-national studies. This paper examines the way in which they are formulated in the World Values Survey 2005 by investigating their association with questions relating to a genuine understanding of democracy and the actual level of democracy in the countries surveyed. A multilevel analysis across 47 countries revealed that the level of democracy in a country is related to the relationship between a genuine understanding of democracy and democracy-assessment. While these relations are positive in democracies, they are insignificant in non-democratic countries. The implications of these findings for examining democratic attitudes across countries via the use of such survey questions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-635
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume121
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Cross-national surveys
  • Democratic attitudes
  • Public opinion
  • Satisfaction from democracy
  • World Values Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)

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