The Fate of Young Democracies

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 29, 2008 - Law - 188 pages
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The recent backlash against democracy in such countries as Bolivia, Venezuela, Russia, and Georgia poses renewed concerns about the viability of this regime type in the developing world. Drawing on a unique data set of every democratization episode since 1960, this book explores the underlying reasons for backsliding and reversal in the world's fledgling democracies and offers some proposals with respect to what the international community might do to help these states stay on track toward political stability. Rejecting earlier scholarship on this topic, which focused on poor economic performance as the leading cause of democratic reversal, Kapstein and Converse argue that the core of the problem is found in the weak institutions that have been built in much of the developing world, which encourage leaders to abuse their power. Understanding the underlying reasons for democratic failure is essential if we are to offer policy recommendations that have any hope of making a difference on the ground.

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About the author (2008)

Ethan B. Kapstein is Paul Dubrule Professor of Sustainable Development at INSEAD and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. He has also held academic appointments at the University of Minnesota and Harvard and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and a Principal Administrator at the OECD. He is the author or editor of ten books and scores of professional and policy articles in the field of international political economy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Kapstein has received awards from the Rockefeller, Russell Sage, and Smith Richardson Foundations, and he has served as a consultant to many organizations in the public and private sectors.

Nathan Converse is a PhD candidate in economics at the London School of Economics. Previously he was a Research Assistant at the Center for Global Development and at the International Institute of Finance.