Who wants technocrats? A comparative study of citizen attitudes in nine young and consolidated democracies

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Technocratic cabinets and expert, non-political ministers appointed in otherwise partisan cabinets have become a common reality in recent decades in both young and older democracies, but we know little about how citizens see this change and what values, perceptions and experiences drive their attitudes towards technocratic government. The article explores the latter topic by drawing on recent comparative survey data from 9 countries, both young and consolidated democracies from Europe and Latin America. The article reveals that two individual-level characteristics trigger strong support for the replacement of politicians with experts: low political efficacy and authoritarian values. They are complemented by a third, somewhat weaker factor: corruption perception. At macro level, technocracy appears to be a more acceptable solution for citizens in countries where the quality of democracy is deficient and in political systems that have experimented with technocratic cabinets in the past.