The Fate of Young Democracies
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.