Trading Democracy for Governance

Issue Date October 2021
Volume 32
Issue 4
Page Numbers 115–30
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If democracy still reigns supreme in contemporary political discourse, why is it in crisis? Popular willingness to trade off democratic principles for instrumental gains offers a critical lens to examine this crisis. Data from the Global Barometer Surveys II and a U.S. national survey covering 72 societies show that while Asian and North African respondents are most likely to trade democratic principles for instrumental gains, U.S. and Latin American respondents are least likely to do so, and sub-Saharan Africans fall in the middle. These results provide comfort that publics in many democracies prioritize democratic principles above all. But they also show that majorities in many authoritarian societies do not.

About the Authors

Jie Lu

Jie Lu (jlu@ruc.edu.cn) is Ye Chenghai Chair Professor of Political Science at Renmin University of China.

View all work by Jie Lu

Yun-han Chu

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

View all work by Yun-han Chu