International Factors and Regime Change in Latin America, 1945-2005
36 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 3 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2009
What factors explain the third wave of democratization in Latin America? We argue that the normative preferences of political elites, radicalization in the policy process, and the transformations of the international context seem to offer better explanations for Latin American democratization than theories emphasizing structural conditions such as economic modernization, class, and natural resource dependence. Our analysis covers 20 countries between 1945 and 2005. We employ random-effects logistic regression models to assess the risk of democratic transitions and breakdowns in different national contexts. The results indicate that international forces and - to the extent that they can be measured - elite attitudes and policy preferences are better predictors of regime change than structural preconditions. A simulation based on our empirical results shows the dynamic impact of diffusion processes on waves of democratization.
Keywords: democratization, Latin America, diffusion
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