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Is there a necessary condition for democracy? The role of state capacity in postcommunist countries

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Fortin, Jessica

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Abstract Although postcommunist countries share a common past, the variability of outcomes in both democracy and economic reform is very large in the region. Only a few countries have become Western-type democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic. By contrast, the norm is clearly not democracy for other Soviet successor states. In this article, the author attributes this variation to differences in the infrastructural capacity of the state. Using both quantitative and qualitative analyses within 26 postcommunist countries, the author argues that for democracy to flourish, the state must first possess the necessary means to maintain law and order and to protect the rights of citizens, in other words, to ensure the maintenance and delivery of essential public goods. The results show that the links between a strong state that has been able to apply a definitive set of rules and democratic institutions are clear. (author's abstract)
Keywords democracy; democratization; transformation; Eastern Europe; nonmarket good; government function; constitutional state; civil rights; statehood; post-communist society
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 903-930
Journal Comparative political studies, 45 (2012) 7
ISSN 0010-4140
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.