Successful and Failed Episodes of Democratization: Conceptualization, Identification, and Description
73 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 12, 2020
What explains successful democratization? This paper makes four contributions towards providing more sophisticated answers to this question. Building on the comparative case study and large-N literature, it first presents a new approach to conceptualizing the discrete beginning of a period of political liberalization, tracing its progression, and classifying episodes by successful vs. different types of failing outcomes, thus avoiding potentially fallacious assumptions of unit homogeneity. Second, it provides the first ever dataset (EPLIB) of the full universe of episodes from 1900 to 2018, and third, it demonstrates the value of this approach, showing that while several established covariates are useful for predicting outcomes, none of them seem to explain the onset of a period of liberalization. Fourth, it illustrates how the identification of episodes makes it possible to study processes quantitatively using sequencing methods to detail the importance of the order of change for liberalization outcomes.
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