Sponsored by the Kellogg Institute's Democratization Theory Research Cluster, this workshop is a forum for the sharing and discussion of current research on democratization theory conducted across Notre Dame. Faculty and graduate students submitted papers for discussion on topics related to theories of democratization, regime change, and the quality of democracy.  

Participants are asked to read the papers for the session(s) they are attending.  Due to the limited timing of the session, it would be helpful for authors, if need be, participants provide written feedback in addition to the discussion.

Upon registration, participants will receive information for the papers and event login.

Questions about the Workshop?  Contact coordinator Andrea Peña-Vasquez.

Session 1
9:30am to 10:30am Eastern Standard Time
"Distal, Intermediate, and Proximate Causes of Democratization" – Michael Coppedge
"State Presence and Democratic Culture: A Spatial Investigation" – Jacob Turner

10:30am to 11:00am Eastern Standard Time

Session 2
11:00am to 12:00pm Eastern Standard Time
"Post-Coup Bargaining in the Shadow of the African Anti-Coup Norm" – Laurie Nathan, Gary GoertzJeremy Graham

Lunch break
12:00pm to 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time

Session 3
1:00pm to 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time
"Do Multiparty Municipal Councils Improve Democratic Governance? Municipal Councilors’ Opinions in El Salvador" –  Abby Córdova
"Zooming in Investigative Bureaucracies: A Sociological Analysis of Corruption Investigations" – Luiz Vilaça

2:00pm to 2:30pm Eastern Standard Time

Book Launch Event (in Spanish)
2:30pm to 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time
The book Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall by Faculty Fellows Scott Mainwaring and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is being published in Spanish by Fondo de Cultura Económica. This afternoon, workshop attendees will join the publisher's book launch, part of Guadalajara’s International Book Fair, where the head of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) will present the volume.


Distal, Intermediate, and Proximate Causes of Democratization (Michael Coppedge)
(Session 1: Friday, December 4, 9:30am to 10:30am)
This is a draft, coauthored with Amanda Edgell, Carl Henrik Knutsen, and Staffan Lindberg, of the conclusion to a second V-Dem book that retests many leading hypotheses about democratization using V-Dem data.
Understanding the complex, long-term process of democratization requires distinguishing distal, intermediate, and proximate causes. Each plays a different role in a comprehensive theory. They must also be modeled appropriately, so that the proximate causes do not eclipse the distal ones. The distal causes came into being long ago, often before the modern democratic era, and are static or change slowly. The proximate causes were brought into being more recently by human activity and can change frequently or radically, although change is usually episodic. Between the distal and proximate causes lie intermediate causes. Click here for the full abstract.

State Presence and Democratic Culture: A Spatial Investigation (Jacob Turner)
(Session 1: Friday, December 4, 9:30am to 10:30am EST)
The relationship between state presence and individual-level democratic attitudes remains an open line of inquiry long after the third-wave of democratization. While greater access to state resources implies stronger integration into the state’s legality, increased exposure to ineffective or violent state agents can have a toxic effect on notions of citizenship. This article seeks to measure the relationship between perceived access to agents of the state and individual support for democracy as the best form of government. To develop a measure of daily access to street level state organizations such as the police, firefighters, and public healthcare workers, this article uses the geocoded locations of each survey respondent in the Local Democracy Index (Índice de Democracia Local - IDL) of the city of São Paulo. Several different multilevel model specifications suggest that this measure of distance negatively correlates with support for democracy, implying that respondents living closer to state offices are more likely to express pro-democratic views while controlling for important socio-economic characteristics. These results suggest that a higher level of access to state agents and the services they provide could promote certain dimensions of democratic citizenship, though the relationship can be negated when those interactions are mostly violent in nature.

Post-Coup Bargaining in the Shadow of the African Anti-Coup Norm (Laurie NathanGary Goertz and, Jeremy Graham)
(Session 2: Friday, December 4, 11:00am to 12:00pm EST)
This paper investigates the effects of the African anti-coup norm on coup goals and outcomes in the period 2000-2019. It seeks to explain the puzzle that African coups have persisted despite the adoption and consistent application of the anti-coup norm. We explain the persistence of coups by showing that coup-makers have adapted to the norm and are still able to achieve some of their goals. We argue that the norm has prevented the long-term retention of power by coup-makers but has not prevented all coups. Instead, it has created a bargaining space in which coup-makers and African organizations (i.e., the African Union and sub-regional bodies) negotiate a mutually acceptable outcome. We develop a bargaining model that captures this dynamic. We explain the variation in the bargaining outcomes in terms of three factors: uncertainty; the balance of power; and the African organizations’ perspective on each coup.

Do Multiparty Municipal Councils Improve Democratic Governance? Municipal Councilors’ Opinions in El Salvador (Abby Córdova)
(Session 3: Friday, December 4, 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST)
This paper is co-authored with Annabella España, California State University, Fresno.
Many countries across the world have adopted multiparty councils in local government. Latin American countries, for example, have all adopted a mixed or proportional electoral system at the local level. Multiparty councils have been implemented with the promise that this institutional configuration results in greater citizen representation and government transparency—notwithstanding the danger of heightened political conflict often associated with more permissive electoral rules. We examine councilors’ opinions on the effectiveness of multiparty councils to improve local governance in the context of El Salvador, a country where political conflict within councils is highly likely. Specifically, we explore how the opposition’s numerical representation influences the views of governing and opposition party members about the effectiveness of multiparty councils. Contrary to what the literature suggests, we do not find evidence that a stronger opposition leads to more negative evaluations of multiparty councils’ effectiveness among members of governing parties.

Zooming in Investigative Bureaucracies: A Sociological Analysis of Corruption Investigations (Luiz Vilaça)
(Session 3: Friday, December 4, 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST)
Why does the prosecution of corrupt politicians fail in some cases but succeed in other cases? Some scholars emphasize differences in the law and jurisprudence of courts, noting how the presence of legal loopholes can prevent prosecutors from obtaining convictions. For others, the successful prosecution of corrupt politicians depends on the support of political elites, which can provide resources to investigators. Yet other scholars focus on social movements, which may pressure courts into convicting politicians. However, because most studies rely on document or statistical analysis, they have neglected the strategies that investigators enact on the ground. In this study, I compare eight anti-corruption investigations in Brazil (2003-2019), drawing on 90 in-depth interviews with prosecutors, detectives, tax inspectors, and judges who worked in both failed and successful investigations. The comparative analysis shows that while social movements and legal changes were important for successful investigations, they only explain part of the picture. I find that prosecutors are more likely to obtain convictions when they 1) cluster human resources, forming task forces of investigators that work in great proximity because this accelerates the collection and analysis of evidence, and 2) cultivate networks with journalists, increasing press coverage on investigations and creating a favorable environment for social movements against corruption to emerge.




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