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The Maturity of Democracy, Political Attitudes and Participation in Elections: Towards Macro-micro Interaction

TitleThe Maturity of Democracy, Political Attitudes and Participation in Elections: Towards Macro-micro Interaction
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsNový, Michal, and Tomáš Katrňák
Conference Name3rd European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Keywordscross-level interaction, maturity of democracy, multilevel modelling, political attitudes, voter turnout
Abstract

To a certain extent, every democratic model of government can be regarded as a particular organization of power. The decision-making process about political matters is carried out by representatives elected in free and periodical elections rather than through the direct voice of people. The examination of the different characters of democratic regimes worldwide can be the basis for explaining cross-national variation in voter turnout. Besides the features of a political system, many scholars have also emphasized the importance of variables at the individual level. For example, well-known Civic Voluntarism Model highlights the importance of personal resources, motivation and mobilization for taking part in political action. In this paper, we make an effort to delineate some specific interaction between macro and micro-explanations of voter turnout. At the individual level, our attention will be focused on the effect of political attitudes. We assume that psychological motivations for participation might be contingent on the maturity of a particular democratic regime. Thus, the main research question is: ‘Is the effect of political attitudes on participation in elections conditioned by the maturity of democracy?’ Considering the literature on political socialization, we hypothesize that the higher the age of democracy, the higher the effect of political attitudes on participation in elections. The study is based on the analysis of survey data from the third module of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). In total, our dataset comprises 29 336 respondents nested in 27 countries. Multilevel logistic regression (including cross-level interaction) is employed to estimate the effects of independent variables on voter turnout.

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