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Title: The Democracy Establishment
Authors: Bush, Sarah Sunn
Advisors: Keohane, Robert O
Contributors: Politics Department
Subjects: Political Science
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is about how and why the United States and other developed countries turned to democracy promotion at the end of the Cold War, and what the impact of doing so has been on the conduct of politics in developing countries across the world. Newly assembled quantitative data, archival records, and extensive field research in Jordan and Washington, D.C., show that many government programs to aid democracy abroad today are not designed to foster short- or even medium-term changes in countries' democracy levels. Instead, today's template of democracy assistance activities emphasizes technical programs that do not threaten the non-democratic regimes of the countries where the programs take place. That template contrasts with the more confrontational aid projects to dissidents, political parties, and trade unions that dominated the early era of democracy assistance in the 1980s. What explains the taming of democracy assistance? Previous research suggests that donor countries' self-interests and target states' characteristics drive patterns of foreign assistance. In contrast, this dissertation focuses on the people linking the democracy promoting countries and the target states. These people, who conduct democracy assistance programs, form the democracy establishment. The democracy establishment's ideas and incentives, which have their genesis in the funding structure of democracy assistance and have subsequently become institutionalized over time, matter greatly for the design of democracy assistance programs. In turn, the types of political practices and institutions that the democracy establishment promotes matter greatly for the conduct of politics in developing countries. Developing countries such as Afghanistan have, for example, adopted quotas for women's minimum representation in legislatures despite women's otherwise poor station in society; such countries adopt quotas because the democracy establishment has encouraged them to do so. The dissertation shows that the democracy establishment significantly influences politics in developing countries, and that its priorities come from incentives created by its funding structure. The theoretical and policy implications of these findings involve our understanding of the anatomy of foreign influence, non-state actors in world politics, principal-agent relationships, and current debates about how best to promote democracy abroad. In order to reward democracy assistance programs that are most likely to advance democracy, the funding structure of democracy assistance should be reformed.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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