Satisfaction with democracy: Do institutions matter?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has shown that people in consensual democracies with a proportional electoral system are more satisfied with the functioning of democracy in their country than people in majoritarian democracies. We assess to what extent this relationship can be explained by people's perception of the accountability and representativeness of the political system in their country. Our findings show that people's satisfaction with democracy primarily depends on their perception of the representation function, and to a lesser degree on the accountability function. Surprisingly, perceived accountability rather than representation is enhanced by a proportional-type electoral system. Moreover, our evaluative measure of satisfaction with democracy is negatively related to proportional electoral systems. The macro-level satisfaction with democracy is primarily affected by the age of the democracy one lives in.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages13
JournalElectoral studies
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • METIS-247430
  • Electoral systems
  • Elections
  • Satisfaction with democracy
  • IR-76867
  • Legitimacy
  • Accountability
  • Political representation

Cite this