A Lost Decade for Third-Wave Democracies?

Issue Date April 2020
Volume 31
Issue 2
Page Numbers 166-181
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By comparing results based on expert and popular surveys, this article finds that popular support for democracy was dwindling even in the decade before expert surveys (such as Freedom in the World and V-Dem) began to show the reality of democratic retreat. Decreasing support for democracy is tied to low satisfaction with how democracy works in practice, and it contributes to the rise of populist leaders who concentrate power in the executive branch. These phenomena reflect the waning capacity of the state to improve governance across all countries. As a result, democracy is likely to face another lackluster decade if both structural and institutional problems are left unsolved.

About the Authors

Yun-han Chu

Yun-han Chu was an academician of Academia Sinica, where he was also Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Political Science, and professor of political science at National Taiwan University.

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Kai-Ping Huang

Kai-Ping Huang is assistant professor of political science at National Taiwan University (kaipinghuang@ntu.edu.tw).

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Marta Lagos

Marta Lagos is the founding director of Latinobarómetro Corporation.

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Robert Mattes

Robert Mattes is professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde and a founding member of Afrobarometer.

View all work by Robert Mattes