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The Effects of Government System Fractionalization on Satisfaction With Democracy*

  • Pablo Christmann and Mariano Torcal

Consensual-pluralistic institutional features of representative democracies have traditionally been associated with satisfaction with democracy (SWD). However, more recent studies report contradictory results on the effects of some of these institutional determinants on SWD. This article confirms these puzzling findings by showing that electoral proportionality increases SWD while other pluralistic factors such as government fractionalization produce the opposite effect. We illustrate this duality of counteracting effects by expanding the number of cases under study to different regions of the world in a comprehensive time-series cross-sectional sample of 58 democracies between 1990 and 2012. In the second part of the paper, we are able to reconfirm these findings at the individual level by employing survey data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems.

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Pablo Christmann Lecturer in Political Science at the Department of Political and Social Science and a Researcher at the Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology (RECSM) at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona ( and Mariano Torcal Full Professor in Political Science at the Department of Political and Social Science and co-director of the Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology (RECSM) at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, C/ Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain ( To view supplementary material for this article, please visit

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