The Study Of Democratization Has Been A Key Cornerstone

1558 WordsFeb 20, 20177 Pages
The study of democratization has been a key cornerstone within the field of comparative politics for the last several decades. Yet, the key mechanisms that lead countries to transition from autocracies to democracies are subject of debate that is ongoing. Building from Lipset corner stone article “Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy”, scholars have focused on the influence of modernization theory, specifically economic development, on the process of regime transition and consolidation. Modernization theory has been a driving force within the field, spawning countless numbers of studies that have shaped and reshaped the field of comparative politics. Recently, this theory once again changed the way…show more content…
Before going in-depth into A&S Elite-Theory Approach, it is important to know the two primary theories that are addressed within their study. A&R and Boix both build on the foundation of Modernization theory with a focus of what can be called Redistributive theory. This relies on the assumption that democracy is desired by the poor due to the ability to redistribute wealth from the rich to the rest of society, on the other hand, the elites fear the redistribution that comes with democratic transition. This implies that the probability of democratization can be related to the level of inequality due to costs and benefits associated with redistribution. A&R and Boix come up with conflicting results for the effects of inequality and democracy. The Elite-Competition Approach pushes back against the importance of redistribution that is associated with democratic transition, while introducing a new key actor and different types of inequality. Unsurprisingly, A&S findings regarding the relationship of inequality and democratization are different than the theories laid out by A&R and Boix. The key components of these three studies will be discussed more in-depth with focus on the assumptions and implications of each. A&R view the relationship between democracy and

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