Date of Award

8-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Bloom, Stephen

Abstract

There are few works that explores the relationship between the attitude towards income equality and levels of democracy in the previous literature. However, there is an abundance of literature on democracy and its determinants. In this paper, I analyze why levels of democracy differ among countries. I assume that positive attitudes or feelings toward income equality, ethnic diversity and democratic political systems are essential to the promotion of democracy. I hypothesize that such positive attitudes to all of these promote democracy, all other things being equal. First, income equality is crucial as to development of democracy. I argue that positive attitudes towards income equality advances democracy by means of reducing negative consequences of income inequality and by means of creating positive circumstances for promotion of democracy because it is less likely for being income equality to advance democracy without positive attitude towards income equality. Second, support for ethnic diversity is also important to the promotion of democracy. I argue that ethnic diversity is not a block or barrier to democracy. Actually, ethnic diversity can be a fertile soil for democracy if the positive attitude towards it is practiced because proper or positive attitudes towards ethnic diversity leads to a change from the negative perception of ethic diversity to the positive perception of it. Such positive perception of ethnic diversity welcomes and nurtures it to be an essential part of making democracy rich. Thus, I hypothesize that positive feeling about ethnic diversity can also promote democracy. Third, the democratic political system itself is essential to advancement of democracy in all countries because it establishes minimal democratic framework and procedures that are important to further improvement of democracy. I argue that such democratic political system and its positive consequences require the positive attitude towards it in advance. Thus, I hypothesize that the positive attitude towards the democratic political system also promotes democracy. The support for my study comes from the existing cross-national datasets. The data for the dependent variable that is the level of democracy is from Polity IV (Polity IV Annual Time-Series 1800-2010). The data for the independent variables are from the World Values Survey 1981-2008. It is cross-country and cross-sectional analysis. The findings show that only one factor that is the positive attitude towards income equality has the positive and significant effect on the promotion of democracy while the other two do not show a statistical significant effects on the level of democracy.

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