Losers’ Consent in Divisive Times

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Political engagement, political participation
    • Public opinion
    • Voting behaviour
polarization Satisfaction with democracy Political Trust elections political participation Perceptions of legitimacy
Project description

It is part of the democratic game that every decision creates winners and losers. This is true both for elections and individual policy decisions. Loser’s consent (i.e. the consent of those who did not get what they wanted) is crucial for the stability of democracy. It implies that even citizens whose personal preferences do not align with the system’s outcome, perceive the system as legitimate, lend basic diffuse support to the system and accept and comply voluntarily with its political decisions. It is consequently essential that all citizens, even the disappointed ones are motivated to accept and comply with the new policies voluntarily. Despite the importance of losers’ consent, empirical insights into some of its core assumptions are missing. This project will provide new insights into the mechanisms that cause low levels loser’s consent and it will investigate how compliance and acceptance among losers can be maintained.