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The political culture of democracy in Bolivia cover

The political culture of democracy in Bolivia, 2008: the impact of governance

Daniel E. Moreno Morales et al.
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 
Vanderbilt University






This study presents information that can help increase the understanding of Bolivians’perspectives, values and attitudes regarding democracy and the proposed changes to strengthen it. Although there are sharp differences among citizens, the fact that the differences are not determined by ethnic or socio-economic factors demonstrates that they can be overcome, and indeed the pursuit of agreements that will allow Bolivia’s present political crisis to be resolved occurs through political channels.







The paper provides the following findings:
  • The percentage of Bolivians who favor a stable democracy grew significantly between 2004 and 2006 but seems to have decreased in 2008. In contrast, the combination of attributes that have grown steadily since 2004 is high legitimacy and low tolerance, the category of authoritarian stability
  • The percentage of Bolivians who affirm having being victims of an act of corruption is one of the highest in the region. In spite of this fact, Bolivians do not believe that corruption is pervasive, which denotes certain tolerance toward this set of practices
  • Bolivians disapprove of the job that the Constituent Assembly has done; citizens’ expectations in relation to the job of this institution diminished substantially during the last two years
  • Legitimacy of Bolivian institutions has been growing; support for the political system is consistently higher than during the same time in previous years.
The authors offer a number of conclusions, including: 
  • Support for democracy may be a function of citizen perception of and experience with governance. However the main institutional reform proposed for the country does not have the support of the majority of Bolivians.
  • Despite the tolerance for corruption, it significantly damages the legitimacy of political institutions in Bolivia. In other words, citizens are the victims and participants in corruption, both of which negatively affect Bolivians’ support for their political system
  • The tendency in Bolivia points toward the consolidation of authoritarian stability, a society in which citizens show high support for government institutions, but low respect of the rights of other citizens who oppose the government and its policies.