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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Democratic institutions directly alter the way citizens interact with government; electoral institutions are a straightforward example of this. But they also act indirectly. Knowing that one’s vote will be counted can alter one’s perception of other forms of political contestation, such as dissent. Political networks can also have both direct and indirect effects. For example, they not only characterize who has direct influence over one’s thinking, but also delimit available information by specifying the pathways across which information travels. The conditional effects of institutions and networks should be expected to interact; a free press might have a reduced impact when political networks constrain the dissemination of information, or social capital as captured by network ties might improve democratic performance only in the presence of supportive institutions. This chapter explores the types of three-way interactions this dual conditionality suggests and discusses their consequences for the study of comparative politics.

Keywords: social networks, institutions, democracy, interactions, information, incentives, comparative politics

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