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Democratization by Elections A New Mode of Transition by Staffan I. Lindberg

Democratization by Elections A New Mode of Transition


Democratization by Elections A New Mode of Transition by Staffan I. Lindberg

Contested, multiparty elections are conventionally viewed as either an indicator of the start of democracy or a measure of its quality. In practice, the role that elections play in the transition from authoritarian rule is much more significant. Using as a starting point Guillermo O'Donnell and Phillipe C. Schmitter's 1986 classic, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule, and Robert Dahl's original formulation of democratization as the outcome of increasing the costs of repression while decreasing the costs of toleration, this volume subjects to critical empirical tests the thesis that repeated elections positively affect democratic rights and processes.The first section uses global and quantitative regional studies based on new and unique data sets to present and rigorously evaluate the debate on the democratizing power of elections. The second section looks closely at specific electoral mechanisms and types of elections in Africa, post-Communist Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa to uncover those that support the long-term institutionalization of a democratic transition. The concluding section develops and formalizes a theory of democratization by elections. Each chapter includes in-depth discussions of policy implications and a wealth of statistical information.Featuring contributions by leading scholars of democracy, original research, and worldwide and country-specific data on elections and democracy, this collaborative exploration of the effect of elections on democratic transitions represents the cutting edge of comparative democratization studies.Contributors: Jason Brownlee, Valerie J. Bunce, Larry Diamond, Axel Hadenius, Jonathan Hartlyn, Marc M. Howard, Staffan I. Lindberg, Jennifer L. McCoy, Bryon Moraski, Pippa Norris, Ellen Lust-Okar, Lise Rakner, Philip G. Roessler, Andreas Schedler, Jan Teorell, Nicolas van de Walle, Sharon L. Wolchik


Democratization by Elections represents an important contribution to our understanding of how competitive-authoritarian regimes evolve. It is destined to become required reading for those interested in understanding contemporary political events... Path-breaking and persuasive. -- Nic Cheeseman * Journal of Modern African Studies *

About the Author

Staffan I. Lindberg is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida. He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters and is the author of Democracy and Elections in Africa, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th August 2009


Staffan I. Lindberg

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Johns Hopkins University Press


432 pages


Political structures: democracy
Elections & referenda



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