Legitimacy Puzzle in Latin America Political Support and Democracy in Eight Nations

ISBN-10: 0521734207

ISBN-13: 9780521734202

Edition: 2009

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Political scientists for more than two decades have worried about declining levels of citizens' support for their regimes (legitimacy), but have failed to empirically link this decline to the survival or breakdown of democracy. This apparent paradox is the "legitimacy puzzle," which this book addresses by examining political legitimacy's structure, sources, and effects. With exhaustive empirical analysis of high-quality survey data from eight Latin American nations, it confirms that legitimacy exists as multiple, distinct dimensions. It finds that one's position in society, education, knowledge, information, and experiences shape legitimacy norms. Contrary to expectations, however, citizens who are unhappy with their government's performance do not drop out of politics or resort mainly to destabilizing protest. Rather, the disaffected citizens of these Latin American democracies participate at high rates in conventional politics and in such alternative arenas as communal improvement and civil society. And despite regime performance problems, citizen support for democracy remains high. These findings resolve the puzzle - citizen actions and values, even among the disaffected, likely strengthen rather than weaken democratic governments.
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Book details

List price: $21.99
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 2/2/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 376
Size: 6.25" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Mitchell A. Seligson is Daniel H. Wallace Professor of Political Science and Research Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. The contributors are: Leslie Anderson Enrique Baloyra-Herp John A. Booth Cynthia Chalker Annabelle Conroy Susanne Jonas Ricardo Cordova Macas Dario Moreno John A. Peeler Orlando J. Perez Patricia Bayer Richard Mark B. Rosenberg Margaret E. Scranton Mitchell A. Seligson Andrew Stein.

List of Figures page
List of Tables
The Latin American Public Opinion Project
Background to the 2004 Survey
The Legitimacy Puzzles
Prior Research on Legitimacy
Legitimacy's Structure
Legitimacy's Sources
Legitimacy's Effects
Legitimacy in Costa Rica
A Pilot Research Project: The 2002 Survey
Discussion and Plan of This Book
The Structure of Legitimacy
The Data: The 2004 Eight-Nation Survey
Variable Selection
Findings: The Structure of Legitimacy
Dimensional Structure
Relationships among Dimensions
Relative Levels of Support
National Patterns of Legitimacy
Conclusions and Measurement Decisions: Our Key Variables
Countries in the Study
The Eight Nations - Common Features
Key Differences among the Eight Countries
The Eight Nations - Variations on a Theme
El Salvador
Costa Rica
The Central Research Question
The Sources of Political Legitimacy
Macrosocial Sources of Legitimacy
Microsocial Sources of Legitimacy
Demographic Variables
Personal Experiences and Attitudes
Political Community
Support for Regime Principles
Support for Regime Institutions
Evaluation of Regime Performance
Support for Political Actors
Support for Local Government
Discussion and Conclusions
Legitimacy and Political Participation
Theories about Legitimacy and Political Participation
The Measures of Participation
Analysis and Results: Legitimacy's Effects on Participation
Voting and Registration
Partisan and Campaign Activism
Contacting Public Officials
Communal Activism
Civil Society Activism
Protest Participation
Discussion and Conclusions
Legitimacy and Negative Political Capital
Measuring Negative Political Capital
Analysis and Results
Willingness to Accept the Violent Overthrow of an Elected Government
Support for a Coup d'Etat
Approval of Confrontational Political Tactics
Discussion and Conclusions
Legitimacy and Democratic Values
Legitimacy and Opposition to Authoritarian Rule
The Perceived Supply of Democracy and Legitimacy
The Democracy Demand-Supply Gap
Huntington's Question: Legitimacy, Participation, and Democracy
The Sky Is Not Falling: The Puzzle Solved
Summary of Findings
The Structure of Legitimacy
Comparative Levels of Legitimacy
Sources of Legitimacy
Consequences of Legitimacy: Its Impact on Political Participation
Consequences of Legitimacy: Its Impact on Negative Political Capital
Consequences of Legitimacy: Its Impact on Support for Democracy
Implications for the Eight Countries
What Proportion of Citizens Is Triply Dissatisfied?
How Do the Triply Dissatisfied Behave and What Are Their Attitudes?
Solving the Puzzle
A Final Word
Supporting Data and Analyses for Chapters 1-5
Variables Used in the Analyses
System-level Performance Measures
Nonsampling Errors, Sampling Errors, and Design Effects for the Eight-Nation Survey
Method of Constructing the Legitimacy Factor Scores
About the Authors
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