Economic Performance, Government Finances, and Satisfaction with Democracy

Andrew Klassen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)

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Introduction: Multiple indicators of economic performance are important for public satisfaction with democracy, but it is uncertain at which levels different economic indicators have positive or negative effects on satisfaction with democracy.

Purpose: The aim of this article is to determine the value ranges of key economic indicators that are associated with maximum and minimum levels of satisfaction with democracy..

Methods: This correlational cross-sectional study aggregates over 3.2 million survey respondents in 147 countries between 1973 and 2016. The analysis utilises bivariate regressions, data visualisation, and multilevel random-effects models.

Results: Positive effects on democratic satisfaction are significant when real interest rates are below 3.5%, gross national savings are above 23% of gross domestic product (GDP), government budget balances are above -1.6% of GDP, government debt is below 30% of GDP, unemployment is below 5.5%, inflation is between 1.8% and 2.8%, GDP growth is above 4.2%, and gross national income per capita is above US$33,000.

Conclusion: The indicators in this study collectively explain about a third of the variation in democratic satisfaction, illustrating the importance of a healthy economy and sound government finances. The ranges resulting from this study provide concrete guidance for public policy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAustralian Political Studies Association 2017 Conference - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Duration: 25 Sep 201727 Sep 2017


ConferenceAustralian Political Studies Association 2017 Conference
CityMelbourne, VIC

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