How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Democracy?

in Democratic Theory
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  • 1 Åbo Akademi University, Finland lauri.rapeli@abo.fi
  • 2 Åbo Akademi University, Finland inga.saikkonen@abo.fi
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Abstract

In this commentary, we discuss some possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in both established and newer democracies. We expect that the pandemic will not have grave long-term effects on established democracies. We assess the future of democracy after COVID-19 in terms of immediate effects on current democratic leaders, and speculate on the long-term effects on support for democratic institutions and principles. We also discuss possible implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global trends in democratic backsliding. We predict that, in the short term, the repercussions of the pandemic can aggravate the situation in countries that are already experiencing democratic erosion. However, the long term economic effects of the pandemic may be more detrimental to non-democratic governance.

Contributor Notes

Lauri Rapeli is Director of Research in the Social Science Research Institute at Åbo Akademi University (Finland). His main research interests include political behavior, particularly electoral behavior. E-mail: lauri.rapeli@abo.fi

Inga Saikkonen is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow in the Social Science Research Institute at Åbo Akademi University (Finland). Her research interests include democratization, electoral authoritarian regimes, and electoral clientelism. E-mail: inga.saikkonen@abo.fi

Democratic Theory

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