Civil Society and Post-Independence Democracy Levels

35 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2020

See all articles by Sandra Grahn

Sandra Grahn

University of Gothenburg

Anna Lührmann

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: January 1, 2020

Abstract

The role of civil society for the consolidation of democracy is contested. Some argue that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are important “schools of democracy” and may foster democratic consolidation. Others emphasize that anti-democratic CSOs may undermine democracy. This debate is particularly relevant in the context of newly independent states. At this critical juncture, both democratic and authoritarian regime trajectories seem possible. Societal preconditions – such as the state of civil society – are highly relevant for the way forward. To what extent does the strength and the nature of civil society organizations (CSOs) prior to independence have an impact on the consolidation of democracy? We argue that the existence of democratic CSOs prior to democratic transition strengthen post-independence democracy whereas non-democratic CSOs have a detrimental effect. For the first time, this argument is empirically tested, using data from the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem) on 92 cases of independence since 1905. The results of this study show that the presence of democratic CSOs prior to independence is important for the consolidation of democracy, the presence of non-democratic CSOs before independence is negatively correlated to democracy levels of the new state following independence.

Suggested Citation

Grahn, Sandra and Lührmann, Anna, Civil Society and Post-Independence Democracy Levels (January 1, 2020). V-Dem Working Paper 94, January 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3519220 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3519220

Sandra Grahn

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Gothenburg
Sweden

Anna Lührmann (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Göteborg, S-405 30
Sweden

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