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8 - Causal Sequences in Long-Term Democratic Development and Decline

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2022

Michael Coppedge
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Amanda B. Edgell
Affiliation:
University of Alabama
Carl Henrik Knutsen
Affiliation:
Universitetet i Oslo
Staffan I. Lindberg
Affiliation:
Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden
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Summary

This chapter summarizes the explanations developed in preceding chapters, fits them into a more comprehensive theoretical framework, and tests them using path analysis, which helps researchers understand causal sequences. Democratization is characterized by punctuated equilibrium. Distant historical factors such as geography and demographic characteristics, together with incrementally changing aspects of social and economic development, affect a country’s level of democracy, but only roughly. Institutions and organizations such as a healthy civil society, the rule of law, and institutionalized political parties, tend to reinforce one another and keep each country’s level of electoral democracy close to an equilibrium or set point. However, short-term economic performance, anti-system movements, and opposition campaigns can sometimes disturb the equilibrium, making significant upturns and downturns possible.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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