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Political Institutions and Satisfaction with Democracy: A Cross-National Analysis of Consensus and Majoritarian Systems

Christopher J. Anderson and Christine A. Guillory
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 91, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 66-81
DOI: 10.2307/2952259
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2952259
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Institutions and Satisfaction with Democracy: A Cross-National Analysis of Consensus and Majoritarian Systems
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Abstract

Do political institutions affect citizen satisfaction with democracy? If so, how? Using cross-sectional survey data for eleven European democracies together with data on the type of democracy in which individuals live, we demonstrate that the nature of representative democratic institutions (measured by Arend Lijphart's consensus-majority index of democracies) mediates the relationship between a person's status as part of the political minority or majority and his or her satisfaction with the way the system works. Specifically, we find that (1) the losers of democratic competition show lower levels of satisfaction than do those in the majority and (2) losers in systems that are more consensual display higher levels of satisfaction with the way democracy works than do losers in systems with majoritarian characteristics. Conversely, winners tend to be more satisfied with democracy the more a country's political institutions approximate pure majoritarian government.

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