Democratic Legacies: Using Democratic Stock to Assess Norms, Growth, and Regime Trajectories

42 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Amanda B. Edgell

Amanda B. Edgell

University of Gothenburg

Matthew C. Wilson

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute; University of South Carolina

Vanessa A. Boese

University of Gothenburg

Sandra Grahn

University of Gothenburg

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

While social scientists often theorize about the enduring effects of past regime characteristics, conceptual issues and data limitations pose real challenges for assessing these legacies empirically. This paper introduces a new measure of democratic stock, conceptualized as the accumulated experience of democratic rule within a polity. Using a weighted sum of past values on the Electoral Democracy Index from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute, we capture variation in past experiences with democratic institutions and practices in 199 political units from 1789 to 2019. This measure of democratic stock provides additional information on a country's political history that is not captured by its present level of democracy or regime type. To illustrate this, we highlight several cases and revisit prominent theories about democratic norms, economic growth, and democratic decline. These applications encourage scholars to think more about political outcomes as legacies of democracy.

Suggested Citation

Edgell, Amanda B. and Wilson, Matthew C. and Boese, Vanessa A. and Grahn, Sandra, Democratic Legacies: Using Democratic Stock to Assess Norms, Growth, and Regime Trajectories (May 2020). V-Dem Working Paper 100, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3595957 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3595957

Amanda B. Edgell (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Matthew C. Wilson

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute ( email )

United States

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Vanessa A. Boese

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Sandra Grahn

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Gothenburg
Sweden

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