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SPP 336

Author: Richard Rose and William Mishler
Description: In the contemporary world, the majority of regimes are non-democratic, or at best partly democratic. To what extent does support for the regime vary between such countries--and what contextual differences account for variations? Is popular support high where democratic institutions are found and low where they are absent, or is support influenced more by socio-economic differences, political performance or structural differences between societies? The first section defines core concepts--the state, regime and support. The second section sets out nine hypotheses about contextual influences on regime support. Thirdly, World Values Survey data from 37 different countries on six continents shows popular support for democratic and non-democratic regimes--and finds variations between categories less great than predicted. The fourth section tests hypotheses about contextual influences on regime support and finds three significant: the extent to which the regime follows the rule of law, institutions are currently democratic, and economic wealth. The conclusion offers two causal models of support, one for first-wave democratic regimes in which the rule of law comes first, and a third-wave causal model in which democratic elections come first but are insufficient for regime support; institutionalization of the rule of law is also needed to promote both economic wellbeing and popular support.

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