Democratic Consolidation: A Reassessment

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Democratic Consolidation: A Reassessment

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Title: Democratic Consolidation: A Reassessment
Author: Greene, Samuel Richard
Abstract: This dissertation contributes to scholarly understanding of the causes of democratic consolidation in new democracies in the developing world by testing the causal relationship between democratic elections and consolidation in the developing world. First, I show that despite numerous approaches to the study of consolidation, a requirement that a state to meet institutional standards to be considered consolidated is acceptable to the sub-field's diverse foundational literature. Respect for democratic institutions by all key actors and institutional credibility in performance of state functions are hallmarks of a secure democracy that faithfully represent the sub-field's foundations.I then use this formulation of institutional standards to examine key cases of consolidation in new democracies, using careful study of crucial cases to test competing theories of the causal role of elections in the consolidation of new democracies. Heterodox theories of consolidation have become increasingly influential in the study of democratization. Such theories content that a causal link exists between either a single founding election or a series of elections and a state's attainment of democratic consolidation. By contrast, formally mainstream theories argue that conditions such as economic development, social modernization, civil society, and past democratic experience serve as drivers of consolidation.My study of new democracies in Central America and Africa shows that key cases in both regions fail to behave as heterodox theories predict. Institutional flaws remain in place after both initial elections and a cycle of successful elections. Absent the conditions of economic development or auspicious social conditions, initial elections failed to produce significant movement toward consolidation, while a cycle of subsequent elections did not drive consolidation. My case studies thus support the more traditional understanding of consolidation as a lengthy process. In key examples of democratization in the developing world, elections did not serve as the causal driver of consolidation.
Description: Degree awarded: Ph.D. Politics. The Catholic University of AmericaThis dissertation can be viewed by CUA users only.
Date: 2012-11-01

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