What explains the dynamics of citizens’ satisfaction with democracy? An integrated framework for panel data

Ann Kristin Kölln*, Kees Aarts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Literature on political support broadly offers three micro-level models: socio-economic status, democratic process evaluations, and political performance evaluations explain people's differences in satisfaction with democracy. While tests show that these explanations complement each other, we do not know how. We combine for the first time all three models into one common longitudinal framework by explicitly considering aspects of time. We argue that relatively stable factors, such as socio-economic status, only explain general levels, whereas more time-sensitive factors, such as evaluations, explain differences between citizens at specific points in time. The results of latent growth curve modelling applied to nine-wave panel data support our general hypothesis of a common longitudinal framework. These results also show that economic evaluations play a prominent role as do some (but not all) electoral results. The findings have theoretical and methodological implications, and they offer a new perspective on the meaning of ’satisfaction with democracy’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102271
Number of pages9
JournalElectoral Studies
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2021


  • Individual-level variation
  • Latent growth curve modelling
  • Longitudinal framework
  • Panel data
  • Satisfaction with democracy

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