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Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy CrisisExplaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies$
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Carolien van Ham, Jacques Thomassen, Kees Aarts, and Rudy Andeweg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793717.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Institutions and Political Support

Institutions and Political Support

How Much do Institutions Matter?

(p.117) 7 Institutions and Political Support
Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis

Shaun Bowler

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes to what extent variation in political institutions affects political support. The chapter observes that the existing research is not always clear on which institutions should produce what kind of effect, although a general expectation is that institutional arrangements improve political support when they give citizens an increased sense of connection to the political process. In general then, we should expect institutions that strengthen the quality of representation to strengthen political support. This general expectation is specified in six hypotheses that are tested using data from the ESS 2012. The chapter demonstrates that electoral systems that provide voters with more choice about candidates, multiparty governments, and “responsive” legislatures, correlate positively with political support. However, compared to other macro-level factors and individual characteristics, the effects of political institutions on political support are modest. The chapter concludes that the prospects for institutional reform to strengthen political support are limited.

Keywords:   political institutions, institutional reform, quality of representation, responsiveness, accountability, political support, satisfaction with democracy

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