Political Participation in Transitional Democracies
In this paper we re-examine the volatility of political participation in transitional democracies. The literature thus far has mostly ignored some of the factors that account for highly volatile changes in political participation during democratic transitions. For example, changes in the distribution of housing and property in the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe created a situation where enthusiasm for democracy was quickly curbed once citizens became aware of the new economic realities. We employ a unique combination of contemporary survey data and macro-level measures to examine these dramatic shifts in participation. Our early findings suggest that while citizens of transitional democracies often often high expectations, these often become foiled in the face of shifting economic priorities and personal living conditions. This yields an environment in which political participation is diminished, and it creates a somewhat negative outlook for the prospects of long-term consolidation.