Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism
International Organization, Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 781-810, October 2006
31 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2009
Date Written: October 1, 2006
Political scientists, sociologists, and economists have all sought to analyze the spread of economic and political liberalism across countries in recent decades. This article documents this diffusion of liberal policies and politics and proposes four distinct theories to explain how the prior choices of some countries and international actors affect the subsequent behavior of others: coercion, competition, learning, and emulation. These theories are explored empirically in the symposium articles that follow. The goal of the symposium is to bring quite different and often isolated schools of thought into contact and communication with one another, and to define common metrics by which we can judge the utility of the contending approaches to diffusion across different policy domains.
Keywords: liberalism, diffusion
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