Does democratization diffuse? For over two decades, numerous studies have asserted that democratization diffuses across countries but recent research has challenged this claim. Most recently, work by Brancati and Lucardi has buttressed this null finding by demonstrating that an oft assumed mechanism for the diffusion of democratization—the diffusion of pro-democracy protests—lacks empirical support. We review this contribution in the context of recent research and pose the question: if democratization does not diffuse, then why does democratization cluster in time and space? The answer, we argue, is that democratization occurs in two steps. First, common shocks, economic or political, lead to regime collapse. Then, diffusion does emerge in a second step: new elites are more likely to install a democracy following a regime collapse if neighboring countries have recently democratized. We present evidence from democratic transitions in 125 autocracies between 1875 and 2014.
This volume explore the scope of existing governance indices and indicator frameworks, elaborates on current challenges in measuring and analysing governance, and offer recommendations on how to overcome them.
As difficult as it might seem to define governance, it appears to be that much more difficult to measure it. Since the World Bank Institute launched the Worldwide Governance Indicators in the late 1990s, the governance indicators field has flourished and experienced significant advances in terms of methodology, data coverage and quality, and policy relevance. Other major initiatives have added to a momentum that propelled research on governance indicators seen in few other academic fields in the economic and social sciences. Given these developments and the prominence and policy relevance the field of governance indicator research has achieved, the time is ripe to take stock and ask what has been accomplished, what the shortcomings and potentials might be, and what steps present themselves as a way forward. This volume--the fifth edition in an annual series tackling different aspects of governance around the world--assesses what has been achieved, identifies strengths and weaknesses of current work, and points to issues that need to be tackled in order to advance the field, both in its academic importance as well as in its policy relevance. In short, the contributions to this volume explore the scope of existing governance indices and indicator frameworks, elaborate on current challenges in measuring and analysing governance, and consider how to overcome them
Electoral competitiveness is a key explanatory construct across a broad swath of phenomena, finding application in diverse areas related to political incentives and behavior. Despite its frequent theoretical use, no valid measure of electoral competitiveness exists that applies across different electoral and party systems. We argue that one particular type of electoral competitiveness'electoral risk'can be estimated across institutional contexts and matters most for incumbent behavior. We propose, estimate, and make available a cross-nationally applicable measure for elections in 22 developed democracies between 1960 and 2011. Unlike extant alternatives, our measure captures vote volatility and is constructed at the party (not system) level, exogenous to most policy predictors, and congruent with the perceptions and incentives of policy-makers.