Are predominantly Muslim societies distinctly disadvantaged in democratization? If so, why? The article presents a straightforward cross-national examination of the link between Islam and political regime. The evidence strongly suggests that Muslim countries are in fact democratic underachievers. The nature of the causal connection between Islam and political regime is investigated. Many conventional assumptions about Islam and politics do not withstand scrutiny. But one factor does help explain the dearth of democracy in the Muslim world: the treatment of women and girls. The rudiments of a provisional theory linking the treatment of females and regime type are offered and the implications of the findings for democracy, both in Muslim societies and elsewhere, are discussed.
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3 Dahl, , Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1982).
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6 Przeworski, Adam, Alvarez, Michael E., Antonio Cheibub, Jose, and Limongi, Fernando, Democracy and Development (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2000).
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10 Remmer, Karen L., “The Sustainability of Political Democracy: Lessons from South America,” Comparative Political Studies 29) (December 1996).
11 Linz, Juan J. and Stepan, Alfred, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).
12 Weiner, Myron, “Empirical Democratic Theory,” in Weiner, Myron and Ozbudun, Ergun, eds., Competitive Elections in Developing Countries (Durham, N.C.:Duke University Press, 1987), 20.
13 Lardeyret, Guy, “The Problem with PR,” in Diamond, Larry and Plattner, Marc F., eds., The Global Resurgence ofDemocracy, 2d ed. (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 175–80; Anthony Payne, “Westminster Adapted: The Political Order of the Commonwealth Caribbean,” in Domingez, Pastor, and Worrell (fn. 9).
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15 Howard, Marc Morje, “Free Not to Participate: The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe,” Studies in Public Policy no. 325 (Glasgow:University of Stathclyde, 2000); Fish, M. Steven, Democracyfrom Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution (Princeton:Prince ton University Press, 1995).
16 Linz and Stepan (fn. 11), 247.
17 Ross, Michael L., “Does Oil Hinder Democracy?” World Politics 53 (April 2001); Lynn Karl, Terry, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (Berkeley:University of California Press, 1997).
18 The source of the data is CIA World Factbook 2000 (Washington, D.C.:Brassey's, 2000).
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20 The source of the data is House, Freedom, Freedom in the World, 1999–2000 (New York:Freedom House, 2000).
21 Taylor, and Hudson, , World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, 2d ed. (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1972); Krain, Matthew, “Ethnic Fractionalization Data” (wooster.edu/polisci/ mkrain/Ethfrac, accessed September 2001); idem, “State-Sponsored Mass Murder,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (June 1997).
22 de Secondat, Charles Louis (Montesquieu), The Spirit of the Laws, ed. Cohler, Anne M., Carolyn Miller, Basia, and Samuel Stone, Harold (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1995), 461–62.
23 Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the Modern World (New York:Simon and Schuster, 1996).
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25 Kaufmann, Daniel, Kraay, Aart, and Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, “Composite Indicator Dataset,” from “Governance Matters,” World Bank Policy Research Department Working Paper no. 2195 (world-bank.org/wbi/governance/gov_data, accessed May 2001).
26 Lipset (fn. 5); Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert Vish-ney, “The Quality of Government,” Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 15 (April 1999); Samuel P. Huntington, “Will More Countries Become Democratic?” Political Science Quarterly (Summer 1984).
27 Huntington (fn. 23), 256–58.
28 Inglehart, , “Trust, Weil-Being and Democracy,” in Warren, Mark E., ed., Democracy and Trust (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1999).
29 Suwaidi, Al, “Arab and Western Conceptions of Democracy,” in Garnham, David and Tessler, Mark, eds., Democracy, War, and Peace in the Middle East (Bloomington:Indiana University Press, 1995), 87.
30 Huntington (fn. 23), 70. For a similar argument, see Lewis, Bernard, “Islam and Liberal Democracy: A Historical Overview,” Journal of Democracy 7 (April 1996).
31 Khalil, Abu, “Against the Taboos of Islam,” in Butterworth, Charles E. and Zartman, I. William, eds., Between the State and Islam (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2001), 115.
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33 Stepan, , Arguing Comparative Politics (New York:Oxford University Press, 2001), 222.
34 Goodwin, Jan, Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence in the Islamic World (New York:Penguin, 1995); Sharabi, Hisham, Neopatriarchy: A Theory ofDistorted Change in Arab Society (New York:Oxford University Press, 1988), 6–8, 32–39; Zay'our, Ali, The Psychoanalysis of the Arab Self (Beirut:Dar al-Tali'ah, 1977), cited in Sharabi, 41–42; Mayer, Ann Elizabeth, Islam andHuman Rights: Tradition and Politics (Boulder, Colo.:Westview, 1998); Mernissi, Fatima, Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Modern Muslim Society (Bloomington:Indiana University Press, 1987); Arat, Yesim, “Feminists, Islamists, and Political Change in Turkey,” Political Psychology 19 (March 1998); Arab Human Development Report 2002 (New York:United Nations Development Programme, 2002).
35 Norris, Pippa and Inglehart, Ronald, “Cultural Barriers to Equal Representation,” Journal of Democracy 12 (July 2001); Meyer, Katherine, Rizzo, Helen, and Ali, Yousef, “Islam and the Extension of Citizenship Rights to Women in Kuwait,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 37 (March 1998); Tessler, Mark, “Islam and Democracy in the Middle East: The Impact of Religious Orientations on Attitudes toward Democracy in Four Arab Countries,” Comparative Politics 34 (April 2002).
36 Population Reference Bureau, Women of Our World 2002 (prb.org, accessed June 2002). See also Phillip, Mini and Bagchi, Kathakali S., The Endangered Half” (New Delhi:Vedams, 1995); Miller, Barbara D., “Female-Selective Abortion in Asia: Patterns, Policies, and Debates,” American Anthropologist 103 (December 2001); Gu, Baochang and Roy, Krishna, “Sex Ratio at Birth in China, with Reference to Other Areas in East Asa,” Asia-Pacific Population Journal 10, no. 3 (1995); Larsen, Ulla, Chung, Woojin, and Das Gupta, Monica, “Fertility and Son Preference in Korea,” Population Studies 52 (November 1998); Berkowitz, Jonathan and Snyder, Jack, “Racism and Sexism in Medically Assisted Conception,” Bioethics 12 (January 1998); Sudha, S. and Irudaya Rajan, S., “Female Demographic Disadvantage in India, 1981–1991: Sex Selective Abortions and Female Infanticide,” Development and Change 30 (July 1999).
37 For a more extensive comparative discussion of women in high government, see Reynolds, Andrew, “Women in the Legislatures and Executives of the World: Knocking at the Highest Glass Ceiling,” World Politics 51 (July 1999).
38 United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2000 (New York:Oxford University Press, 2000).
39 For example, Afkhami, Mahnaz, ed., Faith andFreedom: Women's Rights in the Muslim World (Syracuse, N.Y.:Syracuse University Press, 1995); Afkhami, Mahnaz and Friedl, Erika, eds., In the Eye ofthe Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran (Syracuse, N.Y.:Syracuse University Press, 1994); Ahmed, Leila, Women and Gender in Islam (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1993); Baker, Alison, Voices of Resistance: Oral Histories of Moroccan Women (Albany:State University of New York Press, 1998); Haddad, Y. Y. and Esposito, John L., eds., Islam, Gender, and Social Change (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1997); Skaine, Rosemarie, The Women ofAfghanistan under the Taliban (Jefferson, N.C.:McFarland, 2001); MacLeod, Arlene E., Accommodating Protest: Working Women, the New Veiling, and Change in Cairo (New York:Columbia University Press, 1990); Mir-Hosseini, Ziba, Islam and Gender (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).
40 Sharabi (fn. 34); Hammoudi, Abdellah, The Victim and Its Masks (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1988), 46–47, 150–51; idem, Master and Disciple: The Cultural Foundations ofMoroccan Authori tarianism (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1997); Landes, David S., The Wealth and Poverty Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York:Norton, 1999),410–15.
41 McDermott, Rose and Cowden, Jonathan A., “The Effects of Uncertainty and Sex in a Crisis Simulation Game,” International Interactions 27, no. 4 (2001).
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44 Saad Eddin Ibrahim, cited in Iliya Harik, “Democratic Thought in the Arab World,” in Butter-worth and Zartman (fn. 31), 143–44.
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51 See Rahman, Fazlur, Islam, 2d ed. (Chicago:Chicago University Press, 1979), 38–40, 231–32; idem, Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1984), 13–20; Mernissi, Fatima, The Veil and the Male Elite (Cambridge, Mass.:Perseus, 1992); Esack, Farid, Quran Liberation and Pluralism (Oxford:Oneworld, 1997); Wadud, Amina, Qur'an and Woman (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1999).
* For a great deal of help on earlier drafts, the author is indebted to Christopher Ansell, Pradeep Chhibber, Omar Choudhry, Christopher Gelpi, Andrew Janos, Matthew Kroenig, Rose McDermott, David Nasatir, Conor O'Dwyer, James Robinson, Ani Sarkissian, Jason Seawright, Valerie Sperling, Robert Tignor, Daniel Treisman, and four anonymous reviewers. The author also appreciates helpful feedback received at the conference, “The New Era in World Politics after September 11,” Princeton University, May 3,2002. The author alone is responsible for all shortcomings that remain.
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