Barbara Geddes, “What do we know about democratization after twenty years?” Annual Review of Political Science 2 (1999), pp. 115-144.

_Summary_: synthesizes the results of studies of late-20th century democratization from the 1980s and 1990s. Strong evidence supports the claims that democracy is more likely in more developed countries and that regime transitions of all kinds are more likely during economic downturns – but very few of the other arguments advanced in the transitions literature appear to be generally true. This study proposes a theoretical model, rooted in characteristics of different types of authoritarian regimes, to explain may of the differences in democratization experience across cases in different regions.


_Key point_: argues that military regimes differ from single-party and personalist regimes because most officers value the unity and capacity of the military institution more than they value holding office (!?) – which leads them to cling less tightly to power than do other kinds of authoritarianism and, in fact, often initiate transitions.


_Method_: statistical analysis of a data set that includes 163 authoritarian regimes.





*most military transitions being with internal disagreements and splits. Transitions from military rule are usually well underway before protests swell.

*most personalist regimes, however, maintain their grip on power as long as possible. As a result, they are more likely to be overthrown by popular uprising or rebellion.

*most military regimes end in negotiation, which accounts for the emphasis on bargaining and the advantages of moderation.

*most personalist regimes, however, end in coups, many of them accompanied by widespread violence.

*leaders of personalist regimes also negotiate when under pressure from leaders or faced with widespread public protest, but the proportion who renege on the deals they make has been very high.

*single-party regimes under pressure from donors and popular opposition are more inclined to negotiation than are personalist regimes.

*like officers, single-party cadres can expect life as they know it to continue after liberalization or even regime change. If they cannot avoid regime change, they are better off in a democracy than in some other form of authoritarianism.

*previously hegemonic parties have remained important in political life wherever countries have fully democratized, but they have been outlawed and repressed in several that did not.