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Size and institutional legitimacy: the case of St Kitts and Nevis

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Whereas the introduction of democratic structures in third wave-countries has generally been successful, the legitimacy of such institutions remains restricted. Since microstates are excluded from most studies, and in consideration of theories that actually presuppose a higher level of institutional legitimacy in smaller settings, it is unclear to what extent these findings can be extended to newly democratic microstates. In the current article, this puzzle is addressed by a comparative analysis of the legitimacy of three types of institutions in the Caribbean microstate of St Kitts and Nevis. On the basis of interview data, it is found that size actually exacerbates the lack of legitimacy that has been observed in larger new democracies.
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Keywords: democracy; institutions; microstates; political legitimacy; size

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Political Science, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52 AK, Leiden, 2333, The Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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