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SPP 248

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP and William Mishler, U. of South Carolina
Description: Whereas many studies of democratization define success in idealist terms, Churchill hypothesized a relativistic criteria: democracy can be preferred as a lesser evil by comparison with other alternatives. Since everyone in a post-Communist society has lived in at least two different regimes and some in as many as six, the New Democracies Barometer survey of nine post-Communist countries ranging from the Czech Republic to Belarus and Ukraine asked people to evaluate five different alternatives: monarchy, a return to Communist rule, military governance, rule by a strong leader, or decisionmaking by economic experts. This paper measures how much or how little support there is for each alternative. Only a sixth support an authoritarian alternative; the political legacy of the past is the strongest motivating force for rejecting authoritarianism. The paper also demonstrates that support for experts making decisions about economic policy without regard to Parliament is an endorsement of governmental effectiveness, not a rejection of democracy.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland