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  • Author: Mohammad Ali Kadivar, Adaner Usmani, Benjamin Bradlow
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Over the last several decades, dozens of authoritarian regimes have fallen and been replaced by formal democracies. These new democracies are not all of identical quality -- some have made substantially greater progress than others towards deepening democratic institutions. We make use of a new dataset which identifies five distinct dimensions of democratization in order to study this variation. We argue that prolonged unarmed contentious mobilization prior to transition drives democratic progress in each of these five dimensions. Mobilization matters because it generates a new, democratically-oriented political elite and because it furnishes non-elites with the capacity for autonomous collective action. In panel regressions spanning the 1950 to 2010 period and using original data, we show that the duration of antecedent anti-authoritarian mobilization is a significant and consistent predictor of subsequent democratic deepening. To illustrate the mechanisms, we present a historical analysis of democratic transition in Brazil. This case study shows how both formal political actors and non-elite collective actors, emboldened by prolonged mobilization, drove deepening of democracy post-transition.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus