Daron Acemoğlu, Nicolas Ajzenman, Cevat Giray Aksoy, Martin Fiszbein, Carlos Molina, 15 September 2021

Concerns about the viability of democracy have deepened in recent decades amid growing discontent between and among voters, the rapid spread of misinformation, and the rise of extremist and populist parties across the West. Using large-scale survey data covering more than 110 countries, this column shows that individuals with longer exposure to successful democracies tend to exhibit stronger support for democratic institutions. Democracies breed their own support – but only when they can successfully deliver on promises of economic growth, peace, political stability, and the provision of essential public goods.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, 06 February 2021

Trust is a crucial norm in any democratic system. And respect for the truth, as well as support for the institutions that uphold it, are fundamental for a functioning market economy. This column argues that recent controversies in the US, as well as the UK, have seen this norm begin to erode, and that this may have negative effects for democracies and economies worldwide. Citing evidence from Iceland, the author argues that unless reforms are implemented soon, advocates for democracy may see greater power slide into the hands of those who propagate mistruths for their own material gain.

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