Towards Legitimacy as Congruence: Regimes' Menus of Legitimation and Citizens’ Appetites
Legitimacy is one of the most crucial concepts in political science. It concerns how authority can be exercised in ways that those subjected to it willingly accept, something that all rulers desire. It is also one of the most contested concepts in the field, largely due to the difficulty of measurement. In this dissertation, I lay the foundations for a novel understanding of legitimacy, as the congruence between rulers' legitimation claims – their menus of legitimation – and the values and preferences – the appetites – of their citizens. In four separate research papers, I show the importance and utility of this approach. I provide empirical evidence that existing measures of legitimacy and its neighboring concepts, such as trust and popular support, suffer from a substantial autocratic bias. Self- censorship in autocratic countries results in inflated regime-friendly evaluations com- pared to in democracies. I conceptualize and develop measures of the most typical legitimation claims that rulers provide as justifications for why they are entitled to rule. I then match this expert coded data with global public opinion data to create measures of congruence between menus and appetites across five dimensions. Legitimacy as congruence provides a relational and multidimensional understanding of legitimacy, aligning the concept and its measurement. I show the value of this new measure in predicting outcomes for which the literature has strong theoretical expectations. I conclude that existing approaches to measuring legitimacy are flawed for the comparison across regime types, and that conceptualizing and operationalizing legitimacy as congruence provide an avenue to move the field forward.
Parts of work
Tannenberg, M., Bernhard, M., Gerschewski, J., Lührmann, A., & von Soest, C. (2021). Claiming the right to rule: Regime legitimation strategies from 1900 to 2019. European Political Science Review, 13(1), 77- 94. Open access: https://www.doi.org/10.1017/S1755773920000363Robinson, D., & Tannenberg, M. (2019). Self-censorship of regime sup- port in authoritarian states: Evidence from list experiments in China. Research & Politics, 6(3) Open access: https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168019856449Tannenberg, M. (2021). The autocratic bias: Self-censorship of regime support. Democratization, 1-20 Open access: https://doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2021.1981867Tannenberg, M. (2021). Legitimacy as congruence: Matching expert- coded and public opinion data. Unpublished manuscript.
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Social Sciences
Göteborgs universitet. Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Department of Political Science ; Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Fredagen den 10 juni 2022, kl. 13.15 i Torgny Segerstedtssalen, Universitetets huvudbyggnad, Vasaparken 1, Göteborg.
Date of defence
Göteborg Studies in Politics: 175