Losers' Consent: Elections and Democratic Legitimacy

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Overview

"Democratic elections are designed to create unequal outcomes: for some to win others have to lose. This book examines the consequences of this inequality for the legitimacy of democratic political institutions and systems. Using survey data collected in democracies around the globe, the authors argue that losing generates ambivalent attitudes towards political authorities. Because the efficacy and ultimately the survival of democratic regimes can be seriously threatened if the losers do not consent to their loss, the central themes of this book focus on losing: how losers respond to their loss and how institutions shape losing. While there tends to be a gap in support for the political system between winners and losers, it is not ubiquitous. The book paints a picture of losers' consent that portrays losers as political actors whose experience and whose incentives to accept defeat are shaped both by who they are as individuals as well as the political environment in which loss is given meaning." Given that the winner-loser gap in legitimacy is a persistent feature of democratic politics, the findings presented in this book contain crucial implications for our understanding of the functioning and stability of democracies.

"Based on data from democracies across the globe, this book examines how election losers and their supporters respond to their loss and how institutions shape losing"--Provided by publisher.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199276387
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/7/2005
  • Series: Comparative Politics Series
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher J. Anderson is Professor of Government at Cornell University.
André Blais is Professor of Political Science at the Unversity of Montreal.
Shaun Bowler is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside.
Todd Donovan is Professor of Political Science at Western Washington University.
Ola Listhaug is Professor of Political Science at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

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Table of Contents

1. Winning Isn't Everything: Losers' Consent and Democratic Legitimacy
Part 1: The Winner-Loser Gap
2. Political Legitimacy and the Winner-Loser Gap
3. The Winner-Loser Gap: Contours and Boundaries
4. The Dynamics of Losers' Consent: Persistance and Change in the Winner-Loser Gap
Part 2: Understanding Differences in Losers' Consent
5. Individual Differences in Losers' Consent
6. Winning and Losing in Old and New Democracies
7. How Political Institutions Shape Losers' Consent
8. Comparing Losers' Assessments of Electoral Democracy
9. Losing and Support for Institutional Change
10. Conclusion: Graceful Losers and the Democratic Bargain
Appendix
References
Index

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