Micro-social and Contextual Sources of Democratic Attitudes in Latin America

Eduardo Salinas, John A. Booth


Many Latin American countries democratized between 1975 and 2000, and research has confirmed that contemporary Latin Americans hold democratic political attitudes. Using AmericasBarometer surveys of 18 countries from 2008, we examine the commitment of Latin Americans to three democratic attitudes – preference for democracy over other forms of government, support for general participation rights, and tolerance for participation by system critics. We also explore the impact of personal resources, crime and corruption, evaluation of system performance, social capital, and the sociopolitical context on democratic attitudes. A preference for democracy and support for citizens’ participation rights are strong, but tolerance is lower than the other attitudes. Evidence is found for acculturation – that Latin Americans acquire democratic attitudes by living in democratic regimes and through education.

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