Economic Performance and Moments of Political Transition in East and Southeast Asia
40 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 15, 2011
How are economic conditions related to moments of political transition? This paper considers that transitions comprise changes not suitably categorized as discrete events, so that scholarship benefits from weighing the process and how economic conditions affect actors’ credibility and strategies through that. We provide a model that shows that the government has the highest incentive to accommodate citizens’ demands during times when economic performance is weak because citizens’ threats to bring about political change are credible. This conclusion is evaluated systematically with data from South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, that is, the East and Southeast Asian nations that have spurred debate on the relation of the economy to democratization. The statistical results corroborate the model’s predictions to showcase three contributions in this study: First, the paper provides a model that predicts moments of transition as occurring during weak economic conditions. Second, the model’s conclusions are tested with summary and component measures of political change to show that the findings are robust. Third, the model and results underscore the utility of studying democratization as a process where actors’ credible and strategically interact.
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