fear that democracies are suffering from a legitimacy crisis.
Widespread concern has prompted reforms designed to restore the
connection between citizens and the state. Yet initiatives will
fail if symptoms have been misdiagnosed.
I develops the book’s central argument, focusing upon ‘democratic
deficits’, reflecting how far the perceived democratic
performance of any state diverges from public expectations.
II examines the symptoms by comparing system support in more
than fifty societies worldwide. The autopsy challenges the
pervasive claim that most established democracies have
experienced a steadily rising tide of political disaffection
during the third wave era. Instead confidence in government ebbs
and flows during these decades – in the United States as well as
in Western Europe. European satisfaction with democracy has
grown in recent years. At the same time, in most societies,
evaluations of how democracy performs lag behind public
III diagnoses the reasons behind the democratic deficit using a
model emphasizing the combination of demand (rising
public aspirations for democracy); information (negative
news); and supply (the
performance and structure of democratic regimes).
does this phenomenon matter? The prognosis in Part IV examines
the consequences for citizenship, for governance, and ultimately for democratization. The conclusion
summarizes the key lessons and reflects upon their broader
book provides fresh insights into major issues at the heart of
the study of comparative politics, public opinion, political
culture, political behavior, democratic governance, political
psychology, political communications, public policymaking,
comparative sociology, cross-national survey analysis, and the
dynamics of the democratization process.