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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we attempt to assess what research on democratization has to say about prospects for democratization in the Global South. While the literature is vast, we argue that the research points to three sets of factors that are of primary importance for future democratization and democratic consolidation: social and economic structure, the quality of the state, and the nature of existing political regimes. Using data on each of these items over the last 40 years, we show that while long-run trends in regime type point in a democratic direction, the greater relative poverty, ethnonational divisions, and state-building challenges of the remaining group of authoritarian or hybrid regimes in the Global South (and elsewhere) mean that these states face more severe structural challenges in democratizing than most states that transitioned in the third wave.

Keywords: democratization, Global South, the state, state-building challenges, modernization, ethnic conflict

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