The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions

Stephan Haggard,

The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions
 
 

In the last two decades, there has been a widespread movement from authoritarian to democratic rule among developing countries, often occurring against a backdrop of severe economic crises and the adoption of market-oriented reforms. The coincidence of these events raises long-standing questions about the relationship between economic and political change. In this book, Stephan Haggard and Robert Kaufman explore this relationship, addressing a variety of questions: What role have economic crises played in the current wave of political liberalization and democratization? Can new democracies manage the daunting political challenges posed by economic reform? Under what economic and institutional conditions is democracy most likely to be consolidated? Drawing on contemporary political economy and the experiences of twelve Latin American and Asian countries, they develop a new approach to understanding democratic transitions.


Haggard and Kaufman first analyze the relationship between economic crisis and authoritarian withdrawal and then examine how the economic and institutional legacies of authoritarian rule affect the capacity of new democratic governments to initiate and sustain economic policy reform. Finally, the authors analyze the consolidation of political and economic reform over the long run. Throughout, they emphasize the relationship between economic conditions, the interests and power of contending social groups, and the mediating role of representative institutions, particularly political parties.



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