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Competitive authoritarianism: examining satisfaction with democracy and perception of voting efficacy in Turkey

Smith, Caroline (2018) Competitive authoritarianism: examining satisfaction with democracy and perception of voting efficacy in Turkey. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since the turn of the century, scholars have noticed a worrying trend of democratic
backsliding. Countries around the world are becoming more authoritarian with public support,
which is manifesting itself in the proliferation of hybrid regimes. This study focuses on one type
of hybrid regime – competitive authoritarianism – which maintains semi-democratic elections that
are unfair and unfree. To better understand who votes for authoritarian leaders and why, I examine
Turkey, which has been a competitive authoritarian regime since 2014. Using survey data, this
paper looks at how people’s perception of democracy and voting efficacy changed between 2011
and 2015. I find that satisfaction with democracy decreased, perceptions of voting efficacy
increased, and more religious individuals were more dissatisfied with democracy than their less
religious counterparts. To explain these findings, I examine the effects of patronage politics,
security concerns, religious cleavages, and a struggling economy in fostering popular support for
Erdoğan’s regime. I conclude by briefly comparing Turkey with Russia, which also transitioned
from a relatively democratic country to an authoritarian one. These results and comparison have
important consequences for the future of democracy. High voting efficacy in undemocratic
countries could prevent individuals from demanding a more transparent, responsive democracy
and allow authoritarianism to thrive.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, Carolinecas308@pitt.educas3080000-0001-8787-2204
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorMoss,
Committee CoChairHays,
Committee MemberHarrison,
Committee MemberGumuscu,
Date: 18 December 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 November 2018
Approval Date: 18 December 2018
Submission Date: 4 December 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 83
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: democracy, regime transition, AKP, Erdogan
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 19:29
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 19:29


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