Transition to Democracy

Transition to Democracy


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There are many reasons for the transaction to democracy which can be economic, political or socio-cultural in nature - Transition to Democracy introduction. Many scholars have compared the data of countries involved in the transition and have reached conclusions. Among those who tried to look for likelihood for transitions owing to economic factors are Przeworski and Limongi. They analyzed the per capita income of countries which have the experienced transition at least once. Given the information they would reach the conclusion that it is highly unlikely for an authoritarian country with high per capita income to experience transition but highly likely for one with per capita income rising from low to medium or high (Przeworski et all, 2000). They have contended that the likelihood of a democracy to transition back to autocratic government is strongly linked to the per capita income.

I took several counties including Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Philippines, Pakistan and Iran and I found partial evidence of transition due to increase in the per capita income to medium. What I found was the increase soon after becoming a democracy. I also found an example of Pakistan where in 1988 the per capita income was low enough to classify it as a poor authoritarian turning into democracy. Furthermore it was increasing at a very slow rate and remained low for most of the period afterwards. Pakistan and many other countries are exceptional cases that stand to refute the findings of Przeworski and Limongi. It also stands to show that there role of other factors such as political and socio-cultural are stronger in these countries. For example in South Africa both political and socio-cultural factors led to the transition, not economic. In my opinion the theory provide only a basic picture because it misses out a lot many other immeasurable factors.
Przeworski, Adam, Michael E. Alvarez, José Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990. New York, Cambridge University Press.

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