Economic expectations and political confidence

Date of publication: June 15, 1993


Based on empirical trend data about general economic and political attitudes in Hungary, Poland and the former CSFR the paper deals with the problems of establishing stable market democracies in the new East-Central European democracies. The data sources are representative surveys by the GfK-Group conducted between 1990 and 1993. The overall picture is one of widespread and growing disappointment with the course of the transformation process. Disillusionment, political alienation and growing uneasiness stem not only from economic insecurity (fears of unemployment, of deteriorating living standards, etc.), but are also rooted in perceived shortcomings in the political process and the performance of political actors. Using comparative data from traditional (Western) market democracies, one finds a particular lack of confidence in/and identification with intermediate social and political institutions. However, economic insecurity and political alienation have not yet led to a substantial increase in anti-democratic orientations or hostility towards the market economy. Reffering to theories of political legitimacy, experiences of the successful development of other post-authoritarian regimes (e.g. Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy etc.) and taking into account substantial differences between the various East-Central European countries the paper draws attention to the critical interaction between economic expectations, political- cultural orientations and political confidence in the transformation process.

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