Lecture 12 November 1

Lecture 12 November 1 - Today in Comparative Politics...

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Today in Comparative Politics Rutgers-Ritsumeikan program on environmental politics Top-down transitions Democratization as an equilibrium outcome of a game of incomplete information Democracy: What difference does it make?
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Top-Down Transitions Some transitions to democracy result from a policy of liberalization on the part of the government. Liberalization precedes many transitions to democracy. Brazil 1982-1985 Uruguay 1983-1984 Chile in the 1980s Poland in 1989 East Germany in November 1989 Liberalization gestures often intended to stabilize the dictatorship but sometimes inadvertently lead to democracy
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Origins of Liberalization Often results from a split in the authoritarian regime between hard-liners and more accommodationist forces. Social pressures bring soft-liners to prominence declining economic conditions social unrest They prefer to liberalize and broaden the social base of the dictatorship in some controlled fashion via Forming political parties Holding elections Writing a constitution Establishing a legislature and a judiciary
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Objective of liberalization Incorporate opposition groups into authoritarian institutions Not to bring about democracy Attempt to co-opt or divide and control opposition groups Goal: a broadened dictatorship
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Broadened dictatorships Increasingly common Are the new institutions in these countries signs that these dictatorships are slowly moving toward democracy? Growing evidence that broadened dictatorships are not undergoing a prolonged democratic transition. Liberalization can sometimes significantly enhance the stability of dictatorial rule.
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Instability of liberalization Given the potential benefits, why don’t all dictatorships push for liberalization? If the soft-liners liberalize, then the opposition groups have two options: They can accept the concessions on offer and enter the institutions of a broadened dictatorship OR They can take advantage of the new freedoms to further organize and mobilize against the regime.
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Decision for the elites If the opposition continues to mobilize, then the controlled opening by the soft-liners has failed Their position is likely to be undermined in the regime. Authoritarian elites now have two choices: Allow a democratic transition. Repression If successful, result will be a narrow dictatorship : hard-liners return to power.
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Model the process as a game Prehistory: a split has developed in the authoritarian elite between soft-liners and hard-liners Soft-liners have come to prominence and can choose to open up the political space through a process of liberalization.
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Lecture 12 November 1 - Today in Comparative Politics...

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