Lecture 11 October 25

Lecture 11 October 25 - Today in Comparative Politics •...

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Unformatted text preview: Today in Comparative Politics • Democratic Transitions • Collective Action • True? How do democratic transitions occur? • External imposition : external forces impose democracy • Bottom-up transition : people rise up to overthrow an authoritarian regime • Top-down transition : dictatorial ruling elite introduces liberalizing reforms that lead to a democratic transition Bottom-Up Transitions • East Germany 1989 • Protests on the streets of Berlin and Leipzig in 1989 forced the East German government to open up the Berlin Wall and allow free elections. • Result: reunification of Germany East Germany 1989 • Collapse of communism came as a great surprise to almost everyone. • Communist regimes had seemed very stable. • Few uprisings or revolts in Eastern Europe • Berlin, 1953 • Poland, 1956 • Hungary, 1956 • Czechoslovakia, 1968 • Poland, 1981 Protests have been important in other transitions to democracy • Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989 • Overthrow of Ceaucescu in Romania in 1989 • People Power Revolution that overthrew Marcos in the Philippines in 1986 • June Resistance which led to democratic elections in South Korea in 1987 Questions • How can we explain such bottom-up transitions? • Why did the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe occur in 1989 and not earlier? • Why did Eastern Europe seem so stable before 1989? • Why are revolutions so rare? Why are they hard to predict? Collective Action Theory • Focuses on forms of mass action or “collective action” such as the protests in East Germany • Typically, collective action concerns the pursuit of “public goods” by groups of individuals. Collective Action Theory • A public good has two characteristics: • Non-excludable: If the good is provided, everyone gets to enjoy it. Nobody can be excluded from it. • Non-rivalrous: If someone consumes the good, there is still just as much for everyone else to consume. • Examples • Lighthouse • Park • Democracy itself Collective Action Problem • Public goods are clearly quite desirable. • One might expect that groups of individuals with common interests would act collectively to achieve those interests. • Compelling reasons to doubt that, though • Difficulty: “collective action problem” or “free-rider problem” Cooperation problems • Cooperative hunting and warfare • Exploitation of common pool resources • Climate change • Teamwork in organizations • Collective action • Demonstrations in Tehran • Voting • Basic problem • Cooperative behavior has a positive externality • Hence, private marginal benefit is smaller than social marginal benefit, leading to underprovision Some groups do overcome free rider problem • Public radio does get a significant share of funding from listener-supporters....
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2012 for the course 790 104 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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Lecture 11 October 25 - Today in Comparative Politics •...

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