In terms of causes, this book questions whether societal pessimism is a cultural characteristic of Western societies, or is instead rooted in actual societal degradation. The results point to the latter, showing that political and economic factors drive societal pessimism, both cross-nationally and longitudinally. Finally, this book underlines that societal pessimism is not without consequences, by showing its relationship with attitudes and behaviors that are vital for the functioning of democracy. Societal pessimism increases the chance of voting for populist radical right parties, inhibits identification with multiple political-geographic groups concurrently, and is associated with higher protest participation but lower institutional political participation and civic participation.
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