This is Part 4 of 5 in our Democracy Perception Index Insights Series. This is the second year we have run this global study and presented findings at the Democracy Summit organized by the Rasmussen Foundation. In this post, we will summarise public opinions on the whether social media and financial institutions have an influence or not on democratic systems. The study included 54 countries and over 177,000 participants, representing over 80% of the world’s population.
In Part 3 of the Democracy Perception Index Series we discussed how people around the world perceive the influence that social media, global finance and the United State’s role in world affairs have on democracy in their own country. If part 2 examined the potential problems that democracy is facing in the eyes of people around the world, then this part 3 discusses one possible solution that people may or may not support: the desire for more regulation of social media platforms and the global financial industry.
Key Findings on Regulation and Democracy
To get a sense of how much people around the world want to regulate social media platforms and the global financial industry, we asked the following questions:
In general, do you think that there should be more or less regulation on the content that people share on social media platforms?
Possible answers: More regulation / Neither more nor less / Less regulation / Don’t know
In general, do you think there should be more or less regulation on the global financial industry?
Possible Answers: More regulation / Neither more nor less / Less regulation / Don’t know
Across the 54 countries surveyed, 38% of people want stronger regulation on the type of content that’s shared on social media platforms. Support for more regulation is highest in Peru (65%), China (59%) , Spain (58%), Italy (58%) and France (57%).
The desire for regulation on the financial industry is significantly higher: overall, 49% of the global population surveyed said they want more regulation. Desire for more regulation of the financial industry is highest in Europe (55% want more regulation) led by Italy, Spain and Portugal, and lowest in Asia (36%), particularly in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Fear of Financial Crash
Lastly, to better understand the strong desire for more financial regulation, we decided to ask respondents if they thought their governments were prepared to deal with a future financial crash.
We asked the following question:
Imagine your country faced a financial crash this year. How prepared do you think your government is to deal with the crisis?
Possible Answers: Very prepared / Somewhat prepared / Somewhat unprepared / Very unprepared /Don’t know
Definition: the perceived democratic deficit measures how much people are dissatisfied with the level of democracy in their country. It’s calculated as the difference between the % of people who say democracy is important and the % of people who say their country is currently democratic. See this post for more on the topic.
The results (in red) show that a majority of people around the world (52%) thinks their government is not prepared for another financial crash – particularly in Latin America (68%) and Europe (58%). The countries where this sentiment is most prevalent are Venezuela (85%), South Africa, Italy, Greece and Hungary.
On the other hand, a much smaller share of the population (38%) in the Asian countries surveyed fear that their governments are not prepared for potential financial crash, particularly in India, Vietnam, Singapore and China.
The scatterplot (in blue) also shows the link between regulation and fear of financial crash. More specifically, it shows that the desire for more regulation of the financial industry is closely tied with a fear of a financial crash. For example, countries in the top right corner, like Greece, Italy, Spain Hungary and Ukraine have both the highest support for more regulation and the highest fear that their governments aren’t prepared for a financial crisis.
Furthermore, we can also see by the size and color of the countries (the dots), that dissatisfaction with democracy – measured as the “perceived democratic deficit” (see our post here on the topic) – is also related to fear of financial crash and desire for more regulation. Countries in the top right corner generally have larger perceived democratic deficit than countries in the bottom left corner.
In other words, countries where people are most dissatisfied with the level of democracy (bigger and darker blue dots) are also the countries where people want more financial regulation and feel their governments are most unprepared for a financial crisis. Though the results may lead to a range of interpretations and conclusions, the findings clearly show that democracy’s crisis and attitudes towards global finance are deeply intertwined. This suggests that while many of the worst economic consequences of the 2008 financial crash may now be over, the social and political repercussions are still felt more than a decade later and play a central role in the crisis that democracy is facing.
This report presents an overview of a study conducted by Rasmussen Global and Dalia Research in the Spring of 2019. The sample of n=177,870 online-connected respondents was drawn across 54 countries, with country sample sizes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000. Nationally representative results were calculated based on the official distribution of age, gender and education for each country’s population, sourced from most recent and available data from Barro Lee & UNStat, and census.gov. The average margin of error across all countries sampled is (+/-) 2.77%.
For an overview of the project, please see the Executive Summary.
If you would like to do a multi-country survey, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org