Citizens and Democratic Erosion in Latin America

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
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Democracy is declining worldwide. Democratic erosion comes from within democracy itself: across the world, popularly elected incumbents remove checks and balances, silence the media, and prosecute the opposition. The popular roots of democratic erosion suggest that citizens are the protagonists of both the success and failure of democratic rule. Yet, we still know very little about where democratic attitudes come from. We advance a novel explanation that maintains that citizen preferences for political regimes depend on the relative performance of democracy and autocracy in ensuring individual rights. We examine our argument combining cross-national evidence from Latin America, a survey experiment, and a historical case study of Argentina. We seek Kellogg Institute support to carry out the last empirical piece, which will entail conducting archival research.