Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-dxj8b Total loading time: 0.415 Render date: 2023-02-01T03:00:54.795Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2006

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch
University of Essex, and the Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO,
Michael D. Ward
Center for Statistics and Social Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle,
Get access


Democracy does not evolve sui generis. The spatial clustering in democracy and transitions suggests that international factors play a prominent role in forging democracies as well as influencing their durability. We argue that democracy often comes about as a result of changes in the relative power of important actors and groups as well as their evaluations of particular institutions, both of which are often influenced by forces outside the country in question. The scope and extent of connections with other democratic countries in a region can strengthen support for democratic reform and help sustain institutions in transitional democracies. Results from a transition model demonstrate that international factors can exert a strong influence on the prospects for transitions to democracy, and the spatial clustering in democracy and transitions cannot adequately be explained by the hypothesized domestic social requisites of individual countries.We are grateful for comments from Brian A'Hearn, Kyle Beardsley, Nathaniel Beck, Scott Gates, Håvard Hegre, David Lektzian, Jon Pevehouse, Dan Reiter, Kenneth Schultz, Heather Smith, Håvard Strand, and Kaare Strøm, the editors, and two anonymous reviewers, as well as the participants at the Conference on the International Diffusion of Democracy and Markets, University of California, Los Angeles, March 2003, and the Conference on the International Diffusion of Political and Economic Liberalization at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., October 2003.

© 2006 The IO Foundation and Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Alesina, Alberto, Enrico Spolaore, and Romain Wacziarg. 2000. Economic Integration and Political Disintegration. American Economic Review 90 (5):12761296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alexander, Gerard. 2002. The Sources of Democratic Consolidation. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Almond, Gabriel A., and Sidney Verba. 1963. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Boston: Little, Brown.
Alvarez, Michael R., Adam Przeworski, José Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi. 1996. Classifying Political Regimes. Studies in Comparative International Development 31 (1):336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ash, Timothy Garton. 1999. Ten Years After. New York Review of Books 46:1619.Google Scholar
Barzel, Yoram, and Edgar Kiser. 1997. The Development and Decline of Medieval Voting Institutions: A Comparison of England and France. Economic Inquiry 35 (2):244260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beetham, David, ed. 1994. Defining and Measuring Democracy. London: Sage.
Beck, Nathaniel, David Epstein, Simon Jackman, and Sharyn O'Halloran. 2001. Alternative Models of Dynamics in Binary Time-Series Cross-Section Models: The Example of State Failure. Paper presented at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Society for Political Methodology, July, Atlanta.
Berchtold, André, and Adrian Raftery. 2002. The Mixture Transition Distribution Model for High-Order Markov Chains and Non-Gaussian Time Series. Statistical Science 17 (3):328356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boix, Carles. 2003. Democracy and Redistribution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boix, Carles, and Susan C. Stokes. 2003. Endogenous Democratization. World Politics 55 (4):517549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bollen, Kenneth A. 1979. Political Democracy and the Timing of Development. American Sociological Review 44 (4):572587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bollen, Kenneth A. 1990. Political Democracy: Conceptual and Measurement Traps. Comparative Studies in International Development 25 (1):724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Alastair Smith, Randolph M. Siverson, and James D. Morrow. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Casper, Gretchen, and Michelle M. Taylor. 1996. Negotiating Democracy: Transitions from Authoritarian Rule. Pittsburgh, Penn.: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Deutsch, Karl W. 1954. Political Community at the International Level: Problems of Definition and Measurement. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.
Diehl, Paul F., and Gary Goertz. 2000. War and Peace in International Rivalry. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Doorenspleet, Renske. 2000. Reassessing the Three Waves of Democratization. World Politics 52 (3):384406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galton, Francis. 1889. Comment on E. B. Tylor on a Method of Investigating the Development of Institutions: Applied to Laws of Marriage and Descent. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18:268269.Google Scholar
Gasiorowski, Mark J. 1995. Economic Crisis and Political Regime Change: An Event History Analysis. American Political Science Review 89 (4):882897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gasiorowski, Mark J., and Timothy Power. 1997. Institutional Design and Democratic Consolidation in the Third World. Comparative Political Studies 30 (2):123155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gastil, Raymond D. 1985. The Comparative Survey of Freedom: 1985. Freedom at Issue 82:316.Google Scholar
Gates, Scott, Torbjørn L. Knutsen, and Jonathon W. Moses. 1996. Democracy and Peace: A More Skeptical View. Journal of Peace Research 33 (1):110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gastner, Michael T., and Mark E. J. Newman. 2004. Diffusion-Based Method for Producing Density-Equalizing Maps. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (20):74997504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2002a. All International Politics Is Local: The Diffusion of Conflict, Integration, and Democratization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2002b. Expanded Dyadic Trade and GDP Data, 1946–92. Journal of Conflict Resolution 46 (5):712724.Google Scholar
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2004. A Revised List of Wars Between and Within Independent States, 1816–2001. International Interactions 30 (4):231262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2005. Expanded Population Data, 1816–2002. Data set, Department of Government, University of Essex.
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, and Jinhee L. Choung. 2004. Autocratic Transitions and Democratization. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, March, Montreal, Quebec.
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, and Michael D. Ward. 1997. Double Take: Reexamining Democracy and Autocracy in Modern Polities. Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (3):361383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, and Michael D. Ward. 2001. Measuring Space: A Minimum Distance Database. Journal of Peace Research 38 (6):739768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harary, Frank, Robert Z. Norman, and Dorwin Cartwright. 1965. Structural Models: An Introduction to the Theory of Directed Graphs. New York: Wiley.
Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman: Oklahoma University Press.
Jaggers, Keith, and Ted R. Gurr. 1995. Tracking Democracy's Third Wave with the Polity III Data. Journal of Peace Research 32 (4):469482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kadera, Kelly M., Mark J. C. Crescenzi, and Megan L. Shannon. 2003. Democratic Survival, Peace, and War in the International System. American Journal of Political Science 47 (2):234247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keck, Margaret E., and Kathryn Sikkink. 1999. Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics. International Social Science Journal 51 (1):89101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuran, Timur. 1989. Sparks and Prairie Fires: A Theory of Unanticipated Revolution. Public Choice 61 (1):4174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lipset, Seymour M. 1960. Political Man. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor.
Lohmann, Susanne. 1994. The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig, East Germany, 1989–91. World Politics 47 (1):42101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mansfield, Edward, and Jack Snyder. 2002. Democratic Transitions, Institutional Strength, and War. International Organization 56 (2):297337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meernik, James, Eric L. Krueger, and Steven C. Poe. 1998. Testing Models of U.S. Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid During and After the Cold War. Journal of Politics 60 (1):6385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin, Scott Gates, and Håvard Hegre. 1999. Evolution in Democracy-War Dynamics. Journal of Conflict Resolution 43 (6):771792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moore, Barrington. 1993. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Boston: Beacon Press.
Muller, Edward N. 1988. Democracy, Economic Development, and Income Inequality. American Sociological Review 53 (1):5068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, Edward N. 1999. Capitalism, Democracy, and Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Muller, Edward N. 2000. The Banality of ‘Ethnic War.’ International Security 25 (1):4270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, Edward N., and Mitchell A. Seligson. 1994. Civic Culture and Democracy: The Question of Causal Relationships. American Political Science Review 88 (3):635652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Donnell, Guillermo, Philippe C. Schmitter, and L. Whitehead. 1986. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
O'Loughlin, John, Michael D. Ward, Corey L. Lofdahl, Jordin S. Cohen, David S. Brown, David Reilly, Kristian S. Gleditsch, and Michael Shin. 1998. The Diffusion of Democracy, 1946–1994. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 88 (4):545574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olson, Mancur. 1993. Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development. American Political Science Review 87 (3):567576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paxton, Pamela. 2000. Women's Suffrage in the Measurement of Democracy. Studies in Comparative International Development 35 (3):92111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pevehouse, Jon C. 2002a. Democracy from the Outside-in? International Organizations and Democratization. International Organization 56 (3):515549.Google Scholar
Pevehouse, Jon C. 2002b. With a Little Help from My Friends? Regional Organizations and the Consolidation of Democracy. American Journal of Political Science 46 (3):611626.Google Scholar
Przeworski, Adam. 1988. Democracy as a Contingent Outcome of Conflicts. In Constitutionalism and Democracy, edited by Jon Elster and Rune Slagstad, 5980. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Przeworski, Adam, Michael E. Alvarez, José Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Przeworski, Adam, and Fernando Limongi. 1993. Political Regimes and Economic Growth. Journal of Economic Perspectives 7 (3):5169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam, and Fernando Limongi. 1997. Modernization: Theories and Facts. World Politics 49 (2):155183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Randle, Michael. 1991. People Power: The Building of a New European Home. Stroud, England: Hawthorn.
Ray, James L. 1995. Global Trends, State-Specific Factors and Regime Transitions, 1825–993. Journal of Peace Research 32 (1):4963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reiter, Dan. 2001a. Why NATO Enlargement Does Not Spread Democracy. International Security 26 (4):230235.Google Scholar
Reiter, Dan. 2001b. Does Peace Nurture Democracy? Journal of Politics 63 (3):935948.Google Scholar
Remmer, Karen L. 1991. The Political Impact of Economic Crisis in Latin America in the 1980s. American Political Science Review 85 (3):777800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, William I. 1996. Promoting Polyarchy: U.S. Intervention, Globalization, and Hegemony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rodrik, Dani. 1999. Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses. Journal of Economic Growth 4 (4):385412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John D. Stephens. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Schelling, Thomas C. 1971. Dynamic Models of Segregation. Journal of Mathematical Sociology 1 (2):143186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Ian. 2003. The State of Democratic Theory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Smith, Jackie, Ron Pagnucco, and George A. Lopez. 1998. Globalizing Human Rights: The Work of Transnational Human Rights NGOs in the 1990s. Human Rights Quarterly 20 (2):379412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Solingen, Etel. 1998. Regional Orders at Century's Dawn: Global and Domestic Influences on Grand Strategy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Starr, Harvey. 1991. Democratic Dominoes: Diffusion Approaches to the Spread of Democracy in the International System. Journal of Conflict Resolution 35 (2):356381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, William R. 1996. Democracy and Peace: Putting the Cart Before the Horse? International Organization 50 (1):141174.Google Scholar
Vanhanen, Tatu. 1990. The Process of Democratization. New York: Crane Russak.
Yamaguchi, Kazuo. 1991. Event History Analysis. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage.
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *