Deliberative Capacity of Democratic Systems

I have recently started a new medium-term project on the structural and institutional factors that make democratic deliberation more or less common across contemporary political systems. Existing instruments to assess the quality of democracy evaluate the extent to which political systems live up to certain normative standards as they aggregate the preferences of the citizenry and produce collective decisions that are responsive to those preferences. However, we do not know how to evaluate the overall quality of processes of collective preference formation in mass democracies.

This project seeks to (1) map the institutions that regulate public debate and shape processes of preference formation in contemporary democracies; (2) explain institutional variation across countries; and (3) examine the effects of these institutional differences on (3.a) the quality of democracy and (3.b) political attitudes. The project is funded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.


Hansen, Michael and Agustín Goenaga. “Gender and Democratic Attitudes: Do Women and Men Prioritize Different Democratic Institutions?”, Politics & Gender, online first.

Goenaga, Agustín.  “Democracy in Latin America” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Sandy Maisel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Working papers

  • “Who cares about public deliberation?”
  • “Deliberative Systems and the Quality of Democracy: Mapping Sites of Collective Preference Formation at the Macro-Level”
  • “Continuity and Change in the Quality of Democracy in Latin America”, with Maxwell A. Cameron
  • “The Populist Party Model: Organizational Structure and the Quality of Democracy”, with Johan Bo Davidsson