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Successful and Failed Episodes of Democratization: Conceptualization, Identification, and Description

Working paper
Authors Matthew C. Wilson
Richard Morgan
Juraj Medzihorsky
Laura Maxwell
Seraphine Maerz
Anna Lührmann
Patrik Lindenfors
Amanda B Edgell
Vanessa Alexandra Boese
Staffan I. Lindberg
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Political Science
V-Dem Institute
Language en
Subject categories Other Social Sciences, Media and Communications, Social and Economic Geography, Political Science


What explains successful democratization? This paper makes four contributions towards providing more sophisticated answers to this question. Building on the comparative case study and large-N literature, it first presents a new approach to conceptualizing the discrete beginning of a period of political liberalization, tracing its progression, and classifying episodes by successful vs. different types of failing outcomes, thus avoiding potentially fallacious assumptions of unit homogeneity. Second, it provides the first ever dataset (EPLIB) of the full universe of episodes from 1900 to 2018, and third, it demonstrates the value of this approach, showing that while several established covariates are useful for predicting outcomes, none of them seem to explain the onset of a period of liberalization. Fourth, it illustrates how the identification of episodes makes it possible to study processes quantitatively using sequencing methods to detail the importance of the order of change for liberalization outcomes.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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