Global Democracy for Europeans: A Demographic Story

126 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2018

See all articles by John Gerring

John Gerring

University of Texas at Austin

Brendan Apfeld

University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

Insofar as democracy is a product of long-term diffusion, scholars generally focus on colonialism (especially English) or religion (especially Protestant). Here, we focus on a third pathway from Europe – Europeans. We show that there is a persistent relationship between the share of Europeans in a society and its regime type. We conjecture that this is because Europeans viewed democracy as a basic right – for themselves. It was a club that produced club goods (excludable goods such as property rights and civil liberties). Hence, where Europeans were in the majority they were democrats. Where they were the minority they were indifferent or hostile, or they embraced a restricted form of democracy that excluded non-Europeans. And where Europeans were entirely absent there was no one – at least initially – to carry the democratic torch. To test this argument we assemble an original dataset measuring the diffusion of Europeans across the world from 1600 to the present. This is employed to predict democracy in a series of analyses that focus on various indicators of democracy and a variety of samples, specifications, time-periods, and estimators, including fixed effects and instrumental variables. The evidence offers strong support for the thesis.

Suggested Citation

Gerring, John and Apfeld, Brendan, Global Democracy for Europeans: A Demographic Story (November 2018). V-Dem Working Paper 2018:81. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3287831 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3287831

John Gerring (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Brendan Apfeld

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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