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GDD2014 - Democratisation

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Yvan Guichaoua

on 16 February 2017

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Transcript of GDD2014 - Democratisation

The complicated dialectic of cultural and economic determinants of democratisation
Studying collective action from below
Is democratisation today likely to happen in the same way as in the past?
A game-theoretic approach

Poor, pro-democracy citizens vs rich, anti-democracy elites
Everybody acts rationally (main difference with the structuralist approach)
Only two regimes are possible: democracy or non-democracy
Democracy benefits the poor, non-democracy benefits the rich
The two parties are in conflict: if someone wins the other loses
The threat of revolution might suffice to push the rich to relinquish power
But the rich may also decide to fight back if they think they lose too much

Acemoglu and Robinson 2006 1/3
Neat parsimonious model identifying key channels of political transformation


Overly based on economic rationality
Are the poor necessarily pro-democracy?
How are political beliefs formed?
Acemoglu and Robinson 3/3
What are the factors (i.e. independent variables) making the threat of revolution credible?

Strength of civil society
Structure of the economy (are the rich landowners or industrialists?)
Intergroup inequality (ambiguous effects)
Is constitutional manipulation possible?
The role of the middle class (a third actor in the game): pro-elite?
Acemoglu and Robinson 2006 2/3
Geddes in Lim 2010, p. 201

Path-dependent regime change
Democracy comes from a combination of political struggle between various sections of the society and structural economic change introduced by capitalism. Two structural changes caused by capitalism:

Strengthening of the working class
Weakening of the landowners

Unintended social consequences:

Pro-democratic collective action becomes easier
Class alliances might be needed to achieve change (petty bourgeoisie, middle class)

P&L 1997, p. 158

Structuralist approach
"Economic development is conducive to democracy to the extent that it, first, creates a large, educated, and articulate middle class of people who are accustomed to thinking for themselves and, second, transforms people's values and motivations" (Inglehart and Welzel 2009, p. 8)

Key concept: ‘survival values’ vs ‘self expression values’

An illustration: traditional apprenticeship systems and contingent individual emancipation in West Africa

Problems with this approach
- Are values uniformly distributed in a society?
- How values translate into behaviours? Who are the agents of change?
- How exactly are values connected to broader structural changes?

Can you visually establish a correlation between GDP per capita and ‘freedom’ (as defined by the Freedom House)?
A way of positing the problem
Models of Democratisation
- More on Democracy and Freedom
- Where we are in this module
- The pitfalls of 'transitology'
- Economic roots of democracy
- A conditional economic approach to democratisation
- Cultural roots of democracy
- Conclusion
More on Democracy and Freedom
An echo to Pettit's perspective:

'Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice; socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality' (Mikhail Bakunin)
Where we are in this module
1) Defining and conceptualising democracy and governance

2) Understanding processes of political changes:
- democratisation (today) -->
one type of political change
- models state-formation
- legacy of colonialism
- civil society and 'infra-politics'
- impact of foreign aid

3) Exploring ways to operationalise desirable changes:
- governing divided societies

Moving away from dictatorship means getting closer to democracy

There are stages of democratisation (‘opening’, ‘breakthrough’, ‘consolidation’)

What we observe: a lot of countries in the 'grey zone' between authoritarianism and democracy ('hybrid regimes'), e.g. 'dominant party systems' (multipartyism yet no alternation in power)

--> We need to know the initial and/or structural conditions (Ref: Carothers 2002, http://bit.ly/ZOCQjZ)

The pitfalls of 'transitology'
Economic roots of democracy
GDP per capita
Cultural roots of democracy
False assumptions
A conditional (economic) approach to democratisation
Concluding remarks
Modernisation theory
The importance of religion (Woodberry 2012)
Interesting column on defining economic interests:
--> 'we are all more like Homer Simpson than Superman'
Any question about the group projects?
: causality studied in this lecture: from economic development to democratisation. Another set of literature studies the reverse perspective (Sen)
--> CPs as 'catalysts' making democratisation more likely
Full transcript