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Comparative Politics

Latin America

University of Kentucky

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Perceptions Of Fairness And Political Support In The Face Of Economic Inequality, Gregory W. Saxton Jan 2019

Perceptions Of Fairness And Political Support In The Face Of Economic Inequality, Gregory W. Saxton

Theses and Dissertations--Political Science

In this dissertation, I investigate two key questions: 1) What are the specific conditions under which economic inequality undermines democratic legitimacy; and 2) How does inequality map onto individuals’ perceptions of fairness and subsequently affect satisfaction with democracy and trust in political institutions? I first argue that individuals’ perceptions of distributive unfairness are key factors whereby economic inequality undermines democratic legitimacy. Inequality - and subsequent perceptions that the economic distribution is unfair - undermine political support by signaling that the democratic process is not functioning properly and by challenging people’s normative expectations about what democracy should do in practice.

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