Does democracy diffuse?

Mark Kayser’s latest research published in prestigious International Organization journal

The latest research from Mark Kayser, Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics, has been published in International Organization (IO), a peer-reviewed journal covering international affairs, which consistently ranks at the top of its field.

“Diffusion or Confusion? Clustered Shocks and the Conditional Diffusion of Democracy” was authored by Kayser and his colleagues Christian Houle of Michigan State University and Jun Xiang of Rutgers University. It observes the transitions of states from autocracies to democracies over a period from 1875 to 2004, using data on 125 autocracies. Do states become democracies simply because citizens of autocracies demand reforms they observe in neighbouring states? Kayser and his colleagues say this idea does not reflect the complexity of the process. Instead, factors other than mere “diffusion” determine whether states become democracies, they say. The authors put forth a two-step theory, asserting that economic and political shocks first trigger a breakdown of authoritarian regimes, after which democratic diffusion influences whether an autocracy or a democracy will replace a fallen dictatorship.

The full publication can be accessed here

More about the author

  • Mark Kayser, Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics