Conceptualizing Democratic Efficacy

Bene, Márton and Boda, Zsolt (2020) Conceptualizing Democratic Efficacy. Working Paper. -. (Unpublished)

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DOI: 10.17203/KDK419


This working paper proposes the concept of democratic efficacy and provides a first empirical illustration of it using European Social Survey (ESS) data. The concept has been designed to capture the way subjective sentiments toward politics—i.e., external and internal political efficacy—are connected to ‘objective’ individual capacities that are assumed to promote democratic behavior. It has two components: political efficacy and democratic capacities. Four types of political efficacy are specified based on two variants—i.e., external and internal political efficacy: high political efficacy (PE), low political efficacy (PE), paternalists, and skeptics. Democratic capacities consist of political knowledge, news consumptions, political attachment, political values, and political skills. People with complete democratic capacities have: (1) a certain level of factual political knowledge; (2) consumed news regularly; (3) non-intensive partisans; (4) identities with core values of democracy— i.e., political and legal equality, tolerance toward dissenting opinion, and individual autonomy—and (5) had some involvement in political activities (as a proxy of skills). The concept of democratic efficacy is a typology created from the two concepts. This typology has eight categories. The empirical test suggests that the democratic component is suitable to introduce additional analytical distinction into the concept of political efficacy. The role of context in this conceptualization is twofold: contextual factors are both treated as predictor and moderator variables. They are assumed to shape the level of democratic efficacy, but they also affect its behavioral consequences. We collected several context-level indicators from international datasets that can be tested as predictors or moderators.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Title in English: Conceptualizing Democratic Efficacy
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Institute for Political Science
Research funder: European Union, Research and Innovation Action, Horizon 2020, DEMOS grant number 822590
Depositing User: Judit Gárdos
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2020 09:37
Last Modified: 25 May 2020 12:17
Related papers or data collections: Boda, Zsolt (2019) Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe. [Data Collection]
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