Democratization by Elections: A Mixed Record

Journal of Democracy, Vol. 20, No. 3, July 2009

7 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2010

See all articles by Staffan I. Lindberg

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: January 21, 2009

Abstract

This article summarizes some of the key findings from a forthcoming book, Democratization by Elections: A New Mode of Transition? (Johns Hopkins, 2009, edited by the author), and brings together the following three articles by Valerie Bunce and Sharon Wolchik, Lise Rakner and Nicolas van de Walle, and Ellen Lust. These three essays are revised versions of chapters from the book that highlights some of the ways in which repetition of elections can serve both democratization and its reverse: autocratization. We build on Robert Dahl’s insight that “the more the cost of suppression exceeds the costs of toleration, the greater the chance for a competitive regime.” When repetitive electoral processes contribute to changing the costs that rulers must face when either using oppression or (alternatively) accepting more opposition and competition, then elections may be broadly said to serve as causal factors in both democratization and its reverse: “autocratization.” Electoral contests thus can become not only (or even mainly) about winning votes or offices, but about changing the expected costs and benefits of allowing or resisting democratic transition.

Suggested Citation

Lindberg, Staffan I., Democratization by Elections: A Mixed Record (January 21, 2009). Journal of Democracy, Vol. 20, No. 3, July 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1631652

Staffan I. Lindberg (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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