|dc.description.abstract||This paper merges two large bodies of literature – that concerned with the effects of regime type on institutional quality, and research on the middle classes’ effects on the economy and society at large – with the purpose of providing an answer to: How the size of the middle class affects Quality of Government, and if the size of middle class is a determinant for democracy’s impact on Quality of Government?
I provide a theoretical framework that outlines a “middle class particularism” in terms of their demand of Quality of Government, which differentiates the middle class from both the rich and the poor. I argue that their demand – driven by low future discount rates, expectations on the state, their mitigating role between the upper and lower class, and by their values – interacts differently with the supply side in democracies and autocracies, because of the regime type’s different institutional natures. In this first large-N study on the relationship between the middle class and Quality of Government, I employ a novel operationalization of the middle class – that capture those who can afford to purchase a car, a significantly expensive non-essential item, from which an estimation of the elite is deducted.
The results indicate that the size of the middle class is a strong predictor of Quality of Government in democratic countries, but not so in autocracies. Additionally the empirical findings show only weak support for an interaction effect, between the level of democracy and the size of the middle class, on Quality of Government.||sv