Satisfaction with Democracy and Parliamentary Conflict

28.03.2022 - 12:00
A 5,6 Raum A 231 und online via Zoom
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Or Tuttnauer, PhD.
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
Universität Mannheim, MZES

The rise of radical and populist parties, evident in recent years in electoral outcomes in various countries, is a hotly debated subject in contemporary political science. Some link this trend to insufficient animosity and lack of competition between government and opposition, leading to dissatisfaction among citizens with the choices presented to them by the parties, and therefore, with the democratic institutions in general. Radical and populist parties thrive on this dissatisfaction at the expense of mainstream parties.
This paper explores the effect of government-opposition conflict in parliament on voters' satisfaction with democracy. I Draw on government-opposition voting data from 10 democracies over 34 parliamentary terms, linked with survey data of over 25,000 respondents from the CSES project. I find a strong and significant positive effect, whereby higher levels of government-opposition conflict are correlated with higher levels of satisfaction, even when controlling for various individual-, parliament- and system-level factors. I further explore the mechanism(s) underlying this finding, focusing on the relationship between parliamentary conflict and party system fragmentation. 
The contribution of this project is manifold, both to the study of legislative behavior and of satisfaction with democracy, highlighting the importance not only of the governing parties' performance but of all represented parties, including the opposition.