Trends in Youth Political Participation Worldwide, 1990 – 2013: A Test of the Deconsolidation of Democracy Hypothesis

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Irina TOMESCU-DUBROW, CONSIRT, Polish Academy of Sciences and The Ohio State university, Poland
Joshua DUBROW, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Nika PALAGUTA, Graduate School for Social Research, IFiS, PAN, Poland
Kazimierz M. SLOMCZYNSKI, The Ohio State University and the Polish Academy of Sciences, USA
In a provocative article published in the Journal of Democracy, Foa and Mounk (2016) found that the youth of rich and established democracies are less likely than earlier birth cohorts to support the political system and its institutions. “Citizens of democracies,” they write, “are less and less content with their institutions.” While scholars assume that full-fledged democracies will endure, Foa and Mounk argue that, for the first time in many generations, deconsolidation is a real threat. Noting their critics, we engage Foa and Mounk’s call for more research on potential deconsolidation. We compare political participation of the young with that of older groups across countries and time. To do so, we analyze a massive dataset of over a dozen ex-post harmonized international survey projects, including the World Values Survey, International Social Survey Programme, European Social Survey, Arab Barometer and other regional Barometers, among others, that cover ca. one million respondents interviewed from 1990 to 2013 in most of the world’s regions (e.g. North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania). These data contain harmonized individual-level variables of political participation, trust in institutions, and socio-demographic characteristics (dataharmonization.org/data). Macro-level measures of democracy, economic development, and economic inequality for all country-years complement the individual-level measures. Specifically, we examine trends in youth protest and voter turnout in light of within-country over-time changes in GDP, income inequality and level of democracy.