Economic and political considerations are important in determining citizens' level of satisfaction with their democratic system, but research analyzing which criteria prevail in which contexts is still limited. We examine under what conditions citizens chiefly rely on economic or political considerations in assessing their level of satisfaction with democracy. Using the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems dataset covering 72 elections in 45 unique countries (1996–2016), we show that the relative weight of economic and political criteria in citizens' evaluation of their democratic regime is a function of their nation's affluence. On the one hand, citizens in poorer countries mostly rely on the economy to assess their level of satisfaction with democracy. On the other hand, political considerations are crucial in citizens' evaluations of richer societies. Our results entail strong implications to understand why citizens' recipes for satisfaction for democracy vary across time and space.
- satisfaction with democracy
- comparative politics