By comparing European Values Studies (EVS) individual data on the subjective perception of the democraticness of people’s resident country with several indicators of the quality of democracy for 23 countries, we show that subjective assessment and international indicators of democratic quality are strongly associated at the aggregate level. We further disentangle this result by assessing the characteristics of the people whose subjective perception of democratic processes most adequately matches international indicators. To do so, we put forward an analytical model suggesting two explanations for the level of adequacy of individual prediction, namely 1. the level of political sophistication and competence, and 2. the fact of standing on the losing side of the political competition. Our results show that citizens have a good perception of the qualities and shortcomings of the democracies they live in. They also suggest that this competence plays an important role in explaining democratic stability and the resilience of democratic systems globally.
|Translated title of the contribution||Do citizens correctly assess the quality of democracy in their own country ?|
|Number of pages||33|
|Journal||Revue européenne des sciences sociales|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|