chapter6_cq+print - Principles of Comparative Politics

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1 Principles of Comparative Politics Chapter 6: Economic Determinants of Democracy Classic Modernization Theory Most economic explanations for democracy can be linked to a family of explanations called “Modernization Theory.” All societies develop through a series of stages. Immature society Mature society Large agriculture Small agriculture Small industry Large industry Small service Large service Classic Modernization Theory Immature society Mature society Large agriculture Small agriculture Small industry Large industry Small service Large service Dictatorship Democracy
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2 Classic Modernization Theory As (countries) develop, social structure becomes complex, labor processes begin to require active cooperation of employees, and new groups emerge and organize. As a result, the system can no longer be effectively run by command: the society is too complex, technological change endows the direct producers with some autonomy and private information, civil society emerges, and dictatorial forms of control lose their effectiveness.” (Przeworski and Limongi, 1997) “the more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.” (Lipset 1959) Modernization theory predicts that as countries develop economically, they are (a) more likely to become democratic AND (b) more likely to remain democratic. Proportion of Democracies at Various Levels of Wealth Classic Modernization Theory Modernization Theory Modernization theory predicts that countries are more likely to become and remain democratic as they become wealthier. Survival Story–Przeworski The survival story predicts that democracy is more likely to survive as countries develop and become wealthier, but it is not more likely to emerge. Przeworski found that no democracy collapsed so long as it had a per capita income higher than that of Argentina in 1975: $6,055.
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3 Classic Modernization Theory Why Does Wealth Help Democratic Survival? “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose” – Bob Dylan If you’re rich, autocracy is a big gamble. If you’re poor, autocracy is less of a gamble. Let’s evaluate these implications.
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4 As predicted by both stories, dictatorship is more common in poor countries and democracy is more common in rich countries. Classic Modernization Theory But again, this does not help us distinguish between modernization theory and the survival story. We need to look at (a) the frequency of transitions in general and (b) the effect of increases in wealth on transitions to democracy in particular. At first glance, poor countries do appear to be less stable, as the survival story predicts.
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5 BUT . . . BUT comparing the raw number of transitions can be misleading because the number of transitions that MIGHT take place is constrained by the number of countries in each regime type (and we already know that these are not constant across income levels!). Specifically, the world has a lot more experience with poor countries than rich countries. Classic Modernization Theory
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2011 for the course POLISCI 140 taught by Professor Inglehart during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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chapter6_cq+print - Principles of Comparative Politics

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