Dr. Armin Schäfer
Democracy in the Age of Economic Liberalization
In many OECD countries disaffection with democracy is mounting. Despite high levels of support for democracy as a form of government, many citizens feel disenchanted by the way democracy actually functions. Political cynicism is on the rise, turnout in elections is faltering, and trust in parliaments, parties and politicians is decreasing. While the magnitude of these changes differs from country to country, the trend toward growing dissatisfaction has been almost universal since the late 1970s. What has caused these developments? While studies in history and political economy have identified the 1970s as a turning point in postwar history, political science research on democracy has only rarely studied how the end of the "Golden Age of Capitalism" may have affected democratic politics. This project seeks to show that democracy under conditions of austerity and economic liberalization follows different principles than it did in the first postwar decades. To do this, it will draw on comparative data from opinion polls and national election studies and conduct a survey of German parliament members, thus taking a fresh look at the economic prerequisites for democracy. Project duration: September 2007 to October 2009.
Armin Schäfer: Die Reform des Sozialstaats und das deutsche Parteiensystem: Abschied von den Volksparteien? In: Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen 38(3), 646-664 (2007).