Project

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Democratic Emergence and Survival in Less Developed Countries

Applicant Linder Wolf
Number 113855
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.11.2006 - 31.12.2008
Approved amount 218'508.00
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Keywords (7)

Entwicklungsländer; kulturelles Erbe; Überlebensanalyse; Democratization; Democratic emergence; Democratic transition; Power-sharing

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
While cross-national research on democratization has burgeoned in recent years, scholars have rarely tested their assumptions for developing and non-Western countries in a systematic and methodologically advanced way.This is particularly true for African, Asian, and Arab countries. The project is concerned with two interrelated topics: (1) democratic emergence (and the type of democracy that emerges) and (2) democratic survival in less developed and non-Western countries. The goal is get hold of favorable and unfavorable factors that explain when a less developed country attempts a democratic transition, what type of democracy it chooses (partial vs. full democracy), and whether it will survive as a democracy. The main focus will be on democratization processes in African, Asian, and Arab countries in the post-colonial period from 1960-2002. At a later stage of the project, we shall also include Latin American countries, Caribbean, and post-communist countries. Theoretically, the project mixes innovative and classical approaches to democratization. We focus first on the effects of anthropological factors of the cultural heritage (e.g., the extension of kinship systems in pre-colonial times) on democratic emergence and stability, opening up an unexplored anthropological and historical perspective on democratization in developing countries. The effects of such unexplored factors of the cultural heritage are contrasted with more classical factors of democracy research - such as modernization in the form socio-economic development and institutional approaches (power-sharing and presidentialism/parliamentarism). As to institutional variables, a key aspect of the project will be to explore whether political institutions matter per se or whether institutional mechanisms must be complementary with their surrounding contexts in order to make a difference for democratic survival. Building on our previous research on power-sharing in Africa and Asia, furthermore, we shall focus on more sophisticated versions thereof, in particular combinations of power-sharing mechanisms with presidentialism/parliamentarism and party systems. Finally, we also explore democratic diffusion effects, asking how much democracy is brought about and stabilized by external factors. Contrary to existing diffusion research, we shall test for the effects of external and internal factors simultaneously, investigating how global and regional democracy trends interact with internal preconditions for democratization.Methodologically, the project mainly employs advanced statistical techniques, namely event history models based on binary probit discrete-time models including spatial dependence and corrections for selection biases. Our project will have especially important implications for democracy research and development practitioners. With an eye on the challenges to democratization in today's world (Iraq or Afghanistan), getting a better understanding of the preconditions to democratic emergence and survival in less developed societies is a crucial task indeed. In particular, our study addresses the question whether democracy in less developed countries is something that can be "manipulated" by prescribing the right "constitutional" medicine, whether it is a product of thriving modernization processes and democratic diffusion effects, or whether factors of the cultural heritage remain salient for democratization in the face of socio-economic and political change.


While cross-national research on democratization has burgeoned in recent years, scholars have rarely tested their assumptions for developing and non-Western countries in a systematic and methodologically advanced way.This is particularly true for African, Asian, and Arab countries. The project is concerned with two interrelated topics: (1) democratic emergence (and the type of democracy that emerges) and (2) democratic survival in less developed and non-Western countries. The goal is get hold of favorable and unfavorable factors that explain when a less developed country attempts a democratic transition, what type of democracy it chooses (partial vs. full democracy), and whether it will survive as a democracy. The main focus will be on democratization processes in African, Asian, and Arab countries in the post-colonial period from 1960-2002. At a later stage of the project, we shall also include Latin American countries, Caribbean, and post-communist countries. Theoretically, the project mixes innovative and classical approaches to democratization. We focus first on the effects of anthropological factors of the cultural heritage (e.g., the extension of kinship systems in pre-colonial times) on democratic emergence and stability, opening up an unexplored anthropological and historical perspective on democratization in developing countries. The effects of such unexplored factors of the cultural heritage are contrasted with more classical factors of democracy research - such as modernization in the form socio-economic development and institutional approaches (power-sharing and presidentialism/parliamentarism). As to institutional variables, a key aspect of the project will be to explore whether political institutions matter per se or whether institutional mechanisms must be complementary with their surrounding contexts in order to make a difference for democratic survival. Building on our previous research on power-sharing in Africa and Asia, furthermore, we shall focus on more sophisticated versions thereof, in particular combinations of power-sharing mechanisms with presidentialism/parliamentarism and party systems. Finally, we also explore democratic diffusion effects, asking how much democracy is brought about and stabilized by external factors. Contrary to existing diffusion research, we shall test for the effects of external and internal factors simultaneously, investigating how global and regional democracy trends interact with internal preconditions for democratization.Methodologically, the project mainly employs advanced statistical techniques, namely event history models based on binary probit discrete-time models including spatial dependence and corrections for selection biases. Our project will have especially important implications for democracy research and development practitioners. With an eye on the challenges to democratization in today's world (Iraq or Afghanistan), getting a better understanding of the preconditions to democratic emergence and survival in less developed societies is a crucial task indeed. In particular, our study addresses the question whether democracy in less developed countries is something that can be "manipulated" by prescribing the right "constitutional" medicine, whether it is a product of thriving modernization processes and democratic diffusion effects, or whether factors of the cultural heritage remain salient for democratization in the face of socio-economic and political change.




Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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