Reconciling Citizens With the Trade-Offs of Democracy

Attitudes Toward Democracy Under Rising Politicization

The Project

DEMOTRADEOFF studies democratic trade-offs and how these fuel political discontent in 15 European countries.

Democracies involve trade-offs since all their desirable qualities cannot be simultaneously maximized. Hard choices must be made in order to balance democratic principles such as popular sovereignty and the rule of law, or freedom and political equality.

DEMOTRADEOFF examines the positions of citizens and parties regarding democratic trade-offs; how these contribute to citizens’ increasing discontent with democracy; how the rising politicization of the trade-offs of democracy might exacerbate these dynamics; and whether it is possible to curb this process.

Project Description

The project is funded through an ERC Starting Grant and it is hosted by the Department of Political Science and the Democracy, Elections and Citizenship research group of the Autonomous University of Barcelona


We will generate data on the positions of citizens and political parties regarding democratic trade-offs through the combination of public opinion surveys, experiments, expert surveys and content analysis


Our analyses explore if citizens and political leaders are open to accept that democracy requires a balancing of virtues and how the interplay between citizens' opinions and politicians' positions fuels discontent

Our Team

Picture of Enrique Hernández

Enrique Hernández

Principal investigator

Picture of Sergi Ferrer

Sergi Ferrer

Postdoctoral fellow

Picture of Damjan Tomic

Damjan Tomic

PhD candidate

Picture of Enrique Prada

Enrique Prada

PhD candidate

Picture of Gina Aniano

Gina Aniano

Research Assistant (2023 - 2024)

Picture of Xavier Roura

Xavier Roura

Research Assistant (2024)

Picture of Oscar Ruiz

Oscar Ruiz

Project manager

Picture of Sofia Breitenstein

Sofia Breitenstein

Research collaborator

Picture of Macarena Ares

Macarena Ares

Research collaborator

Picture of Mónica Ferrín

Mónica Ferrín

Research collaborator