Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries

Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries

Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries

Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries


This book examines the relationship between indicators of resource distribution and democratization in the group of 170 countries with data ranging from the 1850s to the present day. Vanhanen constructs a compelling argument, concluding that the emergence of democracy is closely linked to resource distribution.


In the Preface to my 1997 book Prospects of Democracy: A study of 172 countries, I assumed that it might be my last extensive comparative study of democratization. It was not. Three years ago I realized that I could correct some aspects of my measures of democracy (which have been criticized by several colleagues) as well as explanatory variables and that the use of reconstructed variables might increase the explained part of variation in the measures of democracy. So I started to gather data and to experiment with reconstructed variables.

The research problem is the same as in my previous studies of democratization. The purpose is to explore to what extent it is possible to explain great differences in the degree of democratization by some simple empirical variables intended to measure the distribution of important power resources. This is done by testing hypotheses derived from the evolutionary resource distribution theory of democratization by empirical evidence.

Both the dependent and independent variables of this study differ to some extent from those used in my previous books. The inclusion of referendums to the Participation variable is intended to complement the measurement of democracy by taking into account an important dimension of direct democracy. Explanatory variables intended to measure the variation in the degree of resource distribution have been reconstructed even more drastically. The Urban population and Non-agricultural population variables used in previous studies were excluded and an indicator of per capita income was added to the group of explanatory variables. Further, I invented a new way of constructing the DD variable measuring the degree of decentralization of mainly non-agricultural economic power resources. The five basic explanatory variables are now combined into indices of power resources in three alternative ways. It was exciting to find out that the explained part of variation in the measures of democracy rises over 70 percent in 1999-2001. The readers are invited to see from the following chapters how this was done and on what kind of evidence the results are based.

I have attempted to explore the causes and preconditions of democratization because I believe that democracy provides a better framework for . . .

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