XI Congreso de la AECPA (III). The effects of the economic crisis in Spanish democracy: legitimacy, dissatisfaction and dissaffection

Notes from the XI Congreso de la AECPA. La política en tiempos de incertidumbre, organized by the Asociación Española de Ciencia Política y de la Administración (AECPA), in Seville, Spain, the 18-20 September 2013. More notes on this event: 11aecpa.

The effects of the economic crisis in Spanish democracy: legitimacy, dissatisfaction and dissaffection

¿En qué medida la actual crisis económica española está conduciendo a una crisis de la democracia? El propósito de este grupo de trabajo sería discutir los efectos de la crisis a partir de la tradicional diferenciación de las percepciones políticas de los españoles en las tres dimensiones de legitimidad, descontento político y desafección, con especial atención a la desafección y sus distintos componentes. De modo específico planteamos que, en el contexto de la presente crisis, la evolución de la desafección puede estar bifurcándose, de tal modo que aumenta en algunos de sus componentes y entre categorías sociales con menos recursos; al mismo tiempo que disminuye de la mano de otros indicadores como el interés por la política, entre otros. Esta última tendencia estaría alentando un mayor número de ciudadanos críticos, más implicados y exigentes con el ámbito de lo político; pero, en definitiva también, menos desafectos.

Este grupo reúne trabajos que analicen tanto la evolución longitudinal de estas tres dimensiones y sus distintos indicadores, como su impacto en distintos subgrupos de población, prestando especial atención a los jóvenes, los desempleados y los habitantes de algunas comunidades autónomas. Existe un acuerdo bastante generalizado de que la crisis económica ha tenido efectos claramente diferenciados en distintos grupos sociales, así como por territorios. Por ello, el grupo de trabajo quiere reunir propuestas sobre la percepción y la implicación con la democracia entre estos distintos grupos. Ello debería permitirnos ofrecer una visión de conjunto que esté, sin embargo, basada en sus distintas tendencias.

Great Recession, institutional crisis and social change in Spain: institutional analysis and empirical findings.
Gonzalo Caballero

The paper analyses the dynamics of institutional change in the Spanish society.

Reference: Douglass North and institutional design.

Institutions as rules or institutions as equilibriums of individual pressures?

In recent years, institutional design and change has been approached as endogenous. In the case of Spain, the institutional equilibrium during the Francoism has developed into a new institutional equilibrium of the Democracy. This evolution happened in Spain specially during the 1960’s were quasi-parameters were developed and which came forward once the dictator was dead and the regime changed. Shift from self-destructing institutions of the early Francoism to the self-reinforcing institutions of the democracy.

Despite the institutional change, there still is a certain institutional deficit. And then comes the crisis: first recession in 2008-2009, a very slight recovery, and a second recession in 2011-2013. The characteristics are highest unemployment rates, general strikes, social movements and, in the end, political dissatisfaction.

Methodology: take the political trust (CIS) and compare it with the unemployment rate, and controlled by the existence of elections. The results show that when unemployment grows, political trust falls. The existence of elections, though, highly increases political trust.

Conclusion: there is a risk that a long crisis and its negative impact on employment can have a negative impact on political trust and, thus, reduce the legitimacy of the institutions.

Economic crisis and democracy and Spain: legitimacy, dissatisfaction and disaffection.
Ilke Toygur

  • Political support/democratic legitimacy was as widespread in Spain as in any Western Europe countries.
  • Political support has remained solid in the period in spite of sometimes turbulent circumstances (terrorism and violence, military coups, etc.)
  • High levels of political dissatisfaction/discontent has abounded in the period, but never led to a decline in support of democracy or to birth of relevant anti-system parties.

Two dimensions of disaffection: institutional disaffection and disengagement.

Questions:

  • Do the previous questions still apply in Spain?
  • Can trust be put back into the system or is the system already spoiled? Will the political system be granted support ever again?

Hypotheses:

  • There is no direct relationship between legitimacy and discontent.
  • The discontent is not a threat to the system.
  • Economic crisis is affecting the citizens in different ways.

Time series analysis for setting:

  • The association between legitimacy, dissatisfaction and disaffection.
  • Their dependence on economic and political facts during the last three decades.

Dependent variables (CIS): legitimacy and satisfaction. Independent: government performance, party in government, levels of education, terrorism, corruption, ideological positioning.
Unemployment negatively affects legitimacy.
Who are the citizens? A typology

 

Trust

No trust

Interest

Cives

Critical

No Interest

Deferential

Disaffected

Conclusions:

  • Even if political discontent and country is governed by bad policies, legitimacy is not affected.
  • Citizens blame the government both for the situation of economy and austerity policies.
  • Economic crisis is bringing a political crisis.
  • Among those disaffected, what is the relationship between their diffidence toward institutions and their support for the political system? Are they angry with institutions but still believe that the system, as a whole, is a good thing?

The political effects of the economic crisis in its territorial dimension: legitimacy, dissatisfaction and political disaffection in times of crisis.
Teresa Mata López, Marta Paradés

Taking into account that the “autonomías” have been key for the consolidation of democracy in Spain, how has political disaffection been affected by the crisis in the different autonomies?

Hypotheses:

  • Legitimacy of the system not related with satisfaction of the economy.
  • Satisfaction with the system relate with the performance of institutions.

The support to the autonomic model changes along time but differs depending on the territory.
There is a strong relationship between the economic situation of Spain and the legitimacy of the democratic system. But, when the crisis becomes deeper, the significance of the correlation is weaker.

Conclusions:

  • The crisis deepens the impact of former changes that were already in place.
  • There is a positive relationship between the valuations of the economic situation and the legitimacy of the autonomic state.
  • The relationship between the economic valuation and satisfaction with the performance of the autonomic system “disappears” with the crisis.
  • There are changes between different territories due to ideology and identity.

XI Congreso de la AECPA (2013)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2013) “XI Congreso de la AECPA (III). The effects of the economic crisis in Spanish democracy: legitimacy, dissatisfaction and dissaffection” In ICTlogy, #120, September 2013. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=4120

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