Institut for Statskundskab

Does Democracy Matter? An Experimental Study of Technocratic Governance

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

Several polities have responded to the challenges of the global economic crisis after 2008 with appointing technocratic governments in Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy) and in the US (Detroit, Atlantic City). Letting technocrats to bear the political costs of the most painful austerity measures, however, may have potentially serious shortcomings for input-oriented democratic legitimacy. Although technocratic leaders enjoyed high initial popularity, public support often deteriorated with time. This dilemma highlights an important gap in the literature, as perceptions of policies issued by technocratic governments received surprisingly little attention so far. We conducted two original experiments in the EU and the US to measure if people react differently to identical austerity measures if one is framed as a democratic choice and the other as a decision of an independent expert. Our findings show that despite the fact that technocratic leaders are €˜imposed™ on people, their presence may make austerity measures more tolerable under some circumstances. Our Hungarian participants, and Americans scoring high on an elitism scale or highly relying on cognitive heuristics were more likely to assess an expert-initiated austerity measure as more fair. These results provide important evidence for the substantial but heterogenious effects of decision-making procedure and demonstrate the benefits of studying political attitudes in behavioural games rather than in hypothetical scenarios. We suggest that more research is needed to understand the casual mechanisms and cultural heterogeneity we reveal.
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2015
BegivenhedAnnual meeting of the Danish Political Science Association (DPSA) - Kolding, Kolding, Danmark
Varighed: 29 okt. 201530 okt. 2015


KonferenceAnnual meeting of the Danish Political Science Association (DPSA)

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