Are levels of democracy affected by mass attitudes? Testing attainment and sustainment effects on democracy

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Recent findings by Inglehart and Welzel indicate that emancipative mass attitudes show a significantly positive effect on subsequent democracy, controlling for previous democracy and a number of socio-structural and socioeconomic factors. However, on an important theoretical point these prior findings remain inconclusive: the causal mechanism of why and how emancipative mass attitudes favor democracy. This article specifies such a mechanism, arguing that emancipative attitudes motivate mass actions that demonstrate people's willingness to struggle for democratic achievements, be it to establish democracy when it is denied or to defend it when it is challenged. Based on World Values Surveys rounds two to four, the empirical analyses strongly confirm these hypotheses, supporting what has recently been introduced as an "emancipative theory of democracy.".

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)397-424
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2007
Externally publishedYes