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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: May 2020

2 - State-Building and Democratization

Summary

Should a well-functioning state be a precondition for democratization? Can democratization nevertheless contribute to state-building? What does the evidence from East Asia say about the so-called “sequencing debate”? This chapter first reviews the debate on the relationship between state-building and democratization, then examines the historical relationship between state-building and democratization in East Asia. The main findings are as follows. First, privileging state-building has both good and bad consequences and does not preclude the possibility of democratization. Second, democratization confers international legitimacy on isolated states and is beneficial as a conflict-solving mechanism, yet often requires costly external intervention and is not guaranteed success. Finally, the historical experience of East Asia up to the present suggests that today’s regimes cannot freely choose between state-building and democratization

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