Modernization, Globalization, and Satisfaction with Democracy

Kees Aarts, Carolien van Ham, Jacques Thomassen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter tests the validity of the major propositions of modernization and globalization theories. Modernization theory attributes legitimacy decline to the socioeconomic and cultural transformation of advanced industrial societies after the Second World War, leading to value change and cognitive mobilization among citizens, while globalization theory attributes legitimacy decline to the negative consequences of (economic) globalization for citizens of lower socioeconomic status in advanced industrial societies. This chapter evaluates the empirical evidence for the effects of individual modernization and of economic globalization on political support, differentiating between citizens of lower and higher socioeconomic status. Using Eurobarometer data on political support from 1973 to 2015, the authors show that political support in most countries has increased among both the higher educated and lower educated. To the extent that there is support for the globalization thesis, the increase in satisfaction with democracy has been less pronounced among the lower educated, generating a widening “satisfaction gap.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMyth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationExplaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies
EditorsCarolien van Ham, Jacques Thomassen, Kees Aarts, Rudy Andeweg
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198793717
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2017


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