Historical Social Research

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Anton Steen, Elite and Mass Confidence in New Democracies – Towards Congruence? The Baltic States 1992-2007 [Abstract]

Confidence in political and social institutions is of basic importance for democratic rule. The topic here is the patterns of elite and mass confidence in parliament, police, private business, and the church, in three Baltic States following the collapse of communism. The main finding is that elite’s confidence in new institutions is considerably more affirmative than among the mass public, indicating their leading role in the consolidation process. I argue that this finding is more in line with the theory of democratic elitism than liberal democratic theory and underscore the vital role of elites in the process of democratic consolidation. However, gaps and trends over time vary between the countries, which also accentuate the importance of national contexts as explanations.