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Does Competence Make Citizens Tolerate Undemocratic Behavior?

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Are citizens willing to tolerate violations of democratic rules and norms by competent political leaders? I examine this question employing well-powered conjoint experiments in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and South Korea. The findings yield good as well as bad news for democracy. I find that undemocratic behavior by political candidates decreases voter support, whereas candidate competence increases support. Contrary to expectations, the effects of undemocratic behavior and competence do not interact. This means that competent candidates are sanctioned for violating democratic principles but also that support for undemocratic candidates increases with their competence. These findings can help explain the successes and failures of undemocratic political leaders around the world: although these leaders can gain support by appearing to be competent, competence does not make citizens tolerate undemocratic behavior entirely.
TidsskriftAmerican Political Science Review
Sider (fra-til)1147-1153
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022

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