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Dictators and DemocratsMasses, Elites, and Regime Change$
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Stephan Haggard and Robert R. Kaufman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172149

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172149.001.0001

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Inequality and Transitions to Democracy

Inequality and Transitions to Democracy

(p.29) Chapter 1 Inequality and Transitions to Democracy
Dictators and Democrats

Stephan Haggard

Robert R. Kaufman

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between inequality, distributive conflict, and regime change during the Third Wave of democratic transitions (1980–2008). It first provides an overview of the theory and existing quantitative findings on the link between inequality and democratic transitions before discussing the results obtained by using an empirical approach that selects all transitions in the relevant sample period identified in the Polity and CGV datasets. It shows that about half of the transitions analyzed are the result of the mobilized de facto power envisioned by both the sociological and rational choice distributive conflict theories. Cases of democratization driven by distributive conflict constituted only slightly more than half of the universe of transitions during the period, and neither transitions in general nor those driven by distributive conflict were correlated with economic inequality. The emergence of democracy in the advanced industrial states stemmed in part from fundamental changes in class structures.

Keywords:   inequality, distributive conflict, regime change, Third Wave, democratic transitions, democracy, distributive conflict theories, class structure, democratization

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