To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Gender-based inequality is often regarded as a salient characteristic of Muslim societies, yet few works have systematically compared the status of women in Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Fish (2011) finds a gender gap in structural indicators of inequality in Muslim-majority countries that cannot be explained by levels of economic development, raising questions about whether attitudes favoring inequality are more prominent among Muslims. We investigate the impact of structural-situational factors and religious identification on attitudes toward gender-based inequality using hierarchical-level models. We find that: (1) Muslim self-identification and the size of a country's Muslim population predict attitudes supportive of inequality; (2) an individual's gender has a stronger effect on attitudes than does religious identification; and (3) measures of structural inequality also shape attitudes. The effects of these variables remain strong when we consider other contextual elements, such as gross domestic product per capita, education, age, location in the Middle East, and fuels dependence.
When assessing how a country's culture affects the potential for democracy promotion by external actors, we must take two crucial matters into account. The first is the extent to which the culture of the recipient country is conducive to democracy. Does the country that external actors aim to help have a culture that favors open politics? If so, democracy-promotion efforts start with an advantage. If not, would-be promoters of democracy – no matter how sound their programs, competent their personnel, diligent their efforts, and pure their intentions – will probably find themselves frustrated. Factors other than culture – for example, level of economic development – shape the environment in which democracy-promoters work. Even if a country's culture does not necessarily favor democratization, a relatively high material standard of living may bolster democracy's prospects. Still, democracy promotion may be a better investment where the local culture is conducive to open politics than where it is not.
But, the conduciveness of the culture to democracy is not the only relevant cultural issue. So too must we examine the disposition of the culture of the polity in question to would-be external democratizers. Here, the key question is the extent to which the predominant form of nationalism in the recipient country is friendly to interventions from the outside and specifically to interventions by the providers of assistance.
Where is the power? Students of politics have pondered this question, and social scientists have scrutinized formal political institutions and the distribution of power among agencies of the government and the state. But we still lack a rich bank of data measuring the power of specific governmental agencies, particularly national legislatures. This book assesses the strength of the national legislature of every country in the world with a population of at least a half-million inhabitants. The Legislative Powers Survey (LPS) is a list of thirty-two items that gauge the legislature's sway over the executive, its institutional autonomy, its authority in specific areas and its institutional capacity. Data were gathered by means of a vast international survey of experts, extensive study of secondary sources and painstaking analysis of constitutions and other relevant documents. Individual country chapters provide answers to each of the thirty-two survey items, supplemented by expert commentary and relevant excerpts from constitutions.
This book is the product of a lot of curiosity and a bit of dissatisfaction. The curiosity focuses on a matter that interests anyone who studies politics: Where is the power? The dissatisfaction arises from the shortage of information that addresses that question in a global framework. We are particularly interested in where official power – that is, the power vested in the government and the organs of state – resides. In our research on a variety of topics, each of us – one a student of comparative politics, the other a specialist in international relations – consistently encounters a shortage of information. In our many conversations with colleagues both inside and outside the academy, we have come to realize that demand for information on where power resides exceeds supply. For millennia, students of politics have analyzed power, and for at least a century, social scientists have scrutinized formal political institutions and the distribution of power among agencies of government and the state. But we still do not have a rich bank of data measuring the power of this or that agency, and information on legislatures is in especially short supply. For many countries one is hard-pressed to find any relevant information at all. In recent decades, pioneering scholars, particularly in political science, have taken up the challenge of studying legislatures outside the advanced industrialized countries. Still, writings on legislatures in many parts of the world remain negligible, even if the quality of available studies is often high.
Our local electronic media here are completely under the sway of the administration. The government controls what's aired. And the electoral commission – that's under the administration's control too. We're on the Putin model here.
– Viktor Ostrenko, staff director, Center for Social Development “Vozrozhdenie” (an NGO dedicated to democracy promotion), Pskov, July 11, 2001
Putin is no enemy of free speech. He simply finds absurd the idea that somebody has the right to criticize him publicly.
– Ksenia Ponomareva, deputy chief of Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign staff in 1999–2000, March 26, 2001 (reported in the St. Petersburg Times, March 27, 2001)
Russia held four elections for parliament and three elections for president between 1993 and 2004. Elections have been carried out on a regular basis for officials at subnational levels. Control over government is constitutionally vested in elected officials, which means that Russia satisfies Robert Dahl's first criterion for polyarchy.
Dahl's other six criteria specify the conditions that ensure that election results express popular preferences. None of these other conditions is met in Russia. Dahl's second and third criteria specify that “elected officials are chosen in frequently and fairly conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon” and that “practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials.” In practice, elections are carried out frequently and at regular intervals, but they are not conducted fairly and coercion is common.
One of the most contentious and politically significant debates in social science focuses on the relationship between economic policy and political regime. Social scientists and others continue to differ starkly over even the most fundamental issues.
An especially vigorous polemic swirls around whether measures that enhance the freedom of private economic actors do or do not promote democracy. This debate is immediately relevant to Russia's postcommunist experience. Like other postcommunist countries, Russia has undergone shifts in economic policy that may have shaped its trajectory of political regime change.
The closing pages of the previous chapter presented some evidence that economic freedom and democracy go together. But the matter requires more extensive consideration. The difficulty of measuring economic policy orientation, along with the possibility that the relationship between economic and political liberalism is different in established democracies from what it is elsewhere, suggest the need for closer analysis.
This chapter examines the influence of economic policy orientation on democracy and democratization. The first section reviews the theoretical debate. The second examines the empirical evidence in cross-national perspective. The third addresses potential limitations in the analysis. The fourth considers the logic of the link between liberal economic policy and political regime. The fifth and sixth sections focus on how economic policy has influenced political regime change in Russia. The chapter's main finding is that economic and political liberalism are closely linked and that economic liberalization facilitates democratization in Russia as in the world as a whole.
In themselves, technical changes in the form of government do not make a nation vigorous or happy or valuable. They can only remove technical obstacles and thus are merely means for a given end. Perhaps it is regrettable that such bourgeois and prosaic matters, which we shall discuss here with deliberate self-limitation and exclusion of all of the great substantive cultural issues facing us, can be important at all. But that is the way things are.
– Max Weber, Parliament and Government in a Reconstructed Germany (1917; 1978)
It is not because we have made a certain law or because it has been willed by so many votes, that we submit to it; it is because it is a good one – that is, appropriate to the nature of the facts, because it is all it ought to be and because we have confidence in it. And this confidence depends equally on that inspired by the organs that have the task of preparing it. What matters, then, is the way in which the law is made, the competence of those whose function it is to make it and the nature of the particular agency that has to make this particular function work. Respect for the law depends on the quality of the legislators and the quality of the political system.
– Emile Durkheim, Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (1890; 1982)
One of the potentially most consequential institutions in any polity is the constitution.
Characterizing the political regime depends not only on one's interpretation of facts and understanding of conditions but also upon the standards of measurement, concepts, and expectations that one brings to the task of evaluation. Put another way, the characterization of cases depends upon the criteria for classification as well as the comparative referent. If one's definition of “revolution” contains violent overthrow of the regime as a diagnostic feature, then even Hungary's and South Africa's transformations of the early 1990s would fail to qualify as revolutions, whereas Congo-Zaire's regime change in the late 1990s would meet the standard. If one's definition is based on the distance between the old and new regimes in the extent of popular control over the state, the Hungarian and South African transformations were revolutions and the change of regime in Congo-Zaire was not.
Similarly, depending upon one's criteria, one could classify virtually any polity – or no polities at all – as democratic. During the Brezhnev period, Soviet ideologists claimed not only that the USSR was a democracy but also that it was one “of a higher type.” The rulers' self-professed commitment to the welfare of the people and the people's supposedly extraordinary – if elusive and mysterious – control over the state qualified the polity for such status. Few analysts would now take seriously such a conception of democracy, but even within mainstream Western political science, a multiplicity of definitions and conceptions of democracy is available.