Anxiety and the voting paradox

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This master’s thesis analyzes the effect anxiety has on both the voter turnout and the level of democracy. Ronald Wintrobe argues in his working paper called ‘21 Reasons and a simple model of why liberal democracy is in decline’, that an increased threat level, which will arguably lead to an increase in anxiety, will lead to a decline of democracy. He tried to explain this thought using the sense of belonging, as explained by Benedict Anderson in his book ‘Imagined communities’. He claims that the sense of belonging will increase the level of democracy. Based on literature, this is not always true. Therefore, I conducted a mediation analysis to discover the true relationship between anxiety and the level of democracy and how this is mediated by the sense of belonging. My results show that the level of anxiety has a positive relationship with both the voter turnout and democracy, but this relationship reverses once the anxiety rises above a certain point. Once anxiety gets too high, it people stay at home and thus decreases the voting turnout. These results implicate that Wintrobe’s paper is flawed and anxiety has no linear relation with the democratic variables voter turnout and the democracy index
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen