Making Democracy Work
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Putnam and his Italian colleagues studied the performance of Italy’s regional governments over a 20-year period. They asked why some democratic governments succeeded while others failed. They thought differences in success would correlate with a region’s economic vitality. Instead, they found that a strong civic community was a better indicator of success. When citizens sought information from reliable news sources, they tended to interact with one another on political matters. Informed interaction encouraged trust in political dialogue and encouraged engagement in public affairs.
Equally, when citizens had access to networks of secondary associations, where they interacted with strangers, they were…
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