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Employment and Democracy

Duha Tore Altindag and Naci H. Mocan find that people lose faith in democracy when democratic governments can’t deliver the goods employment-wise:

Using micro data on more than 130,000 individuals from 69 countries, we analyze the extent to which joblessness of the individuals and the prevailing unemployment rate in the country impact perceptions of the effectiveness of democracy. We find that personal joblessness experience translates into negative opinions about the effectiveness of democracy and it increases the desire for a rouge leader. Evidence from people who live in European countries suggests that being jobless for more than a year is the source of discontent. We also find that well-educated and wealthier individuals are less likely to indicate that democracies are ineffective, regardless of joblessness. People’s beliefs about the effectiveness of democracy as system of governance are also shaped by the unemployment rate in countries with low levels of democracy. The results suggest that periods of high unemployment and joblessness could hinder the development of democracy or threaten its existence.

Nothing too shocking there, but it’s a reminder that short-term problems can, if unresolved, easily lead to long-term problems stemming from adverse political impacts.

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