Varieties of Democratic Diffusion: Colonial and Neighbor Networks

Posted: 3 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Sep 2017

See all articles by Michael Coppedge

Michael Coppedge

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute; University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

Ben Denison

University of Notre Dame, College of Arts & Letters, Department of Political Science, Students

Lucia Tiscornia

University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science, Kellogg Institute

Staffan I. Lindberg

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

Date Written: June 1, 2016

Abstract

Numerous studies have reported that countries tend to become more similar to their immediate geographic neighbors with respect to democracy. We show that a similar process of mutual adjustment can be found within very different international networks: geographically dispersed colonial empires, especially those that were founded early and lasted a century or more. The causal mechanisms for the diffusion of democracy are notoriously vague, but the existence of diffusion within colonial networks helps narrow the possibilities. Where these relationships are significant, the net tendency is overwhelmingly convergence: colonies have tended to democratize more quickly than similar countries that were never colonies, and some colonizers have tended to democratize more slowly than similar countries that never had colonies. We distinguish between effects that took place during colonial rule and later relations between former colonies and their colonizers. These estimates also confirm, and control for, convergence among immediate neighbors, using an electoral democracy index from the Varieties of Democracy project, which includes historical democracy ratings for colonies.

Suggested Citation

Coppedge, Michael and Denison, Ben and Tiscornia, Lucia and Lindberg, Staffan I., Varieties of Democratic Diffusion: Colonial and Neighbor Networks (June 1, 2016). V-Dem Working Paper 2016:2(2) Revised. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613455 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2613455

Michael Coppedge (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute ( email )

Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

216 Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN New South Wales 46556-5646
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nd.edu/~mcoppedg/crd

Ben Denison

University of Notre Dame, College of Arts & Letters, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

217 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Lucia Tiscornia

University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science, Kellogg Institute ( email )

217 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Staffan I. Lindberg

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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