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Democratization in Asia. Causes, Processes, and Consequences. Outline. 3rd wave of democratization Causes economic cultural Processes Consequences economy security. Waves of Democratization.

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Democratization in Asia

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Democratization in Asia

Causes, Processes, and Consequences

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  • 3rd wave of democratization

  • Causes

    • economic

    • cultural

  • Processes

  • Consequences

    • economy

    • security

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Waves of Democratization

  • ``A group of transitions from nondemocratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction during that period”

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The First Two Waves

  • A long and slow wave from 1828 to 1926

  • A reverse wave of democratic breakdown from 1922 to 1942

  • A wave of democratization after World War II from 1943 to 1964

  • A reverse wave of democratic breakdown from 1961 to 1975

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The Third Wave

  • Started in Portugal and Spain in mid-1970s

  • Spread to South America from late 1970s to early 1980s

  • Reached Asia in late 1980s

  • Surge of transitions in East Europe at end of 1980s

  • South Africa 1990

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The Third Wave

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Causes of Regime Change

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Economic Explanation?

  • Almost all rich countries have democratic institutions

  • Among the 64 ``low-income” countries classified by the World Bank, India is the only one in which democratic institutions have survived continuously for more than a decade

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Economic Variable

  • Economic development

  • dispersion of resources

  • economic pluralism

  • social pluralism

  • political pluralism

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Economic Variable

  • Economic development

  • middle class

  • demand for democracy

  • elite bargaining

  • political accommodation

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Economic Variable

  • Economic development

  • rising expectations

  • economic difficulties

  • popular discontent

  • regime crises

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Cultural Explanation?

  • Are Islam and the ``Asian values” obstacles to democracy?

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Support for Democracy

  • World Values Surveys and European Values Surveys

  • The following slide shows the percentage of respondents who said a democratic system is a ``very good” or ``fairly good” way of governing this country

  • Most Islamic and Pacific Asian countries actually rank relatively high

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Support for Strong Leader

  • The following slide shows the percentage of respondents who said ``having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections” would be ``very good” or ``fairly good”

  • Most Islamic and Pacific Asian countries actually have relatively low support for this authoritarian option

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Scenarios of Change

  • Preservation of authoritarian regime

  • Gradual transition to

    • authoritarian pluralism

  • Gradual and moderate liberalization

  • Gradual and moderate democratization

  • Radical transition toward

    • a new authoritarian regime

    • a democracy

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Regime Changes



State Crises

Regime Change




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Top-down Processes

  • From top down

    • Conflict of interest

    • Elite competition

    • Gradual transition

  • Problematic implications:

    • democratization is easy

    • skillful elite can establish democracy in any setting

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Bottom-up Processes

  • From bottom up

    • Popular demand

    • Political movement

    • Radical revolution

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  • Does democracy promote economic growth?

  • Does democracy promote security?

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