This study systematically addresses an important yet neglected question pertaining to the potentially time-varying effects of economic development on political democracy. Building on Huntington's insightful observations of alternating “waves” and “reverse waves” of democracy in world history, we deduce research hypotheses subject to empirical falsification and find, through a systematic analysis of the experiences of 87 countries from the 1960s to 1990s, that the impact of economic development on democracy shifted from the well-known U-shaped relationship to an inverted U-curve. These shifts occurred around 1980, a time point that corresponds to Diamond's classification of the end of the “second reverse wave” and beginning of the “third wave” of democratization. The finding thus demonstrates that the “wavy” progression of democracy in the world reflects historically changing dynamics of economic development and their impacts on political democracy over time.
Kim, H. and Morrison, E. (2010), "Chapter 7 Shifting functional forms in the relationship between economic development and political democracy", Wejnert, B. (Ed.) Democratic Paths and Trends (Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-176. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0895-9935(2010)0000018011Download as .RIS
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