The perils of semi-presidentialism: Confidence in political institutions in contemporary democracies

Ecevit Y. A., KARAKOC E.

INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, vol.38, no.1, pp.4-20, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The degree to which citizens perceive democratic political institutions as trustworthy indicates how well these institutions translate the citizenry's interests into public policy and how effective and accountable they are seen to be. Low levels of public confidence in political institutions are an indicator of various political problems and are likely to raise concerns over democratic governance. Recent findings that trust in major political institutions has fallen over the last quarter of a century in many democracies have led scholars to examine individual and institutional factors associated with political confidence. Aiming to contribute to this burgeoning literature, this study investigates the impact of semi-presidentialism on public confidence in two major political institutions: the government and parliament. Testing our arguments in 29 democracies through a multilevel analysis, we have found that, compared to presidential and parliamentary systems, semi-presidentialism often generates dual-legitimacy problems, thereby reducing confidence in both government and parliament.