Bras. Political Sci. Rev.2018;12(1):e0001.
Socialization and Political Regimes: the Impact of Generation on Support for Democracy in Latin America
Studies on democratic attitudes in Latin America indicate that older citizens are more likely to express a preference for democracy. This contradicts part of the literature, which suggests that the greatest support should come from younger generations, who were socialized under democratic regimes. One possible explanation for the greater support for democracy among the older generation is that they experienced the repression of political and civil rights under authoritarian rule, thus creating an aversion to such regimes. In this article, we replicate tests conducted by other studies in evaluating the effect of generation on support for democracy, using data from the 2012 Americas Barometer. In addition, we add a new factor to the analysis: the country’s authoritarian legacy, measured as to the duration and intensity with which individual and political rights were curtailed in the past. The results show a complex picture. First, they confirm that the generations that have lived under authoritarian regimes are more likely to support democracy. However, we find no evidence of an increase in the difference in support between generations in countries where the authoritarian legacy is stronger. Finally, the data indicate that countries with stronger authoritarian legacies exhibit less support for democracy, while stronger democratic legacies have the opposite effect.