April 2009, Volume 20, Number 2 $12.00 Reading Russia Ghia Nodia Garry Kasparov Ivan Krastev Andrei Piontkovsky Nadia Diuk Leon Aron Andrei Illarionov Vitali Silitski Lilia Shevtsova Archie Brown The 2008 Freedom House Survey Arch Puddington The Consequences of Democratization Giovanni Carbone Manuel Hidalgo on Venezuela Marco Verweij & Riccardo Pelizzo on Singapore E. Gyimah-Boadi on Ghana Zoltan Barany on NATO at Sixty Oisín Tansey on Kosovo Religion and Democracy Jean Bethke Elshtain THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEMOCRATIZATION Giovanni Carbone Giovanni Carbone is lecturer in political science at the Universit`a degli Studi di Milano and visiting fellow at the Crisis States Research Centre of the London School of Economics. This essay is part of a research project cofunded by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research and the Universit`a degli Studi di Milano. I n recent decades, growing numbers of countries have embraced democratic institutions as a result of both domestic and external pressures. A “spirit of democracy” has come to pervade the international community. Today, there is no need to espouse the notion of an “end of history” to appreciate that no other form of state—save perhaps, in some regions, the Islamist form—possesses anywhere near the kind of international legitimacy that democracy enjoys. Democracy, it would seem, has been gradually defeating its rivals. It is precisely because of its widespread legitimacy and rapid expansion, however, that the question of what democracy is “good for” is becoming ever more pressing. People living in recently democratized states will soon begin asking, if they have not already done so, what their new regimes have brought. Most citizens will probably acknowledge and dearly prize the rights and freedoms that constitute the foundations of democratic life. In some places and at some times, however, others will consider a broader balance sheet. They may ask whether democracy has been costing them more war, social inequality, or economic stagnation, for example. They may raise questions about whether, in view of adverse outcomes, democratic arrangements still make sense. By that time, the legitimacy that democracy currently enjoys at the global level may be eroding, and democracy’s future may look shakier. But does democracy actually come at a cost, and if so, what cost? These questions constitute the underlying core of a fragmented, largely unacknowledged, but essentially unified approach to the study of democratic change, an approach that focuses on the “consequences of democratizaJournal of Democracy Volume 20, Number 2 April 2009 © 2009 National Endowment for Democracy and The Johns Hopkins University Press 124 Journal of Democracy tion” (COD). Since the “third wave” of democratization got underway in 1974, scholars have mostly asked why, how, and what. In other words, they have focused on the causes of political change, the modes by which one type of regime gives way to another, and the characteristics that the new political orders display. Remaining insufficiently studied have been the broader political, social, and economic consequences that have occurred in countries where democratizing changes have taken place. Democracy and democratization have been historically and theoretically justified by reference to a multiplicity of values. These have included broad ideals such as liberty, equality, or justice, and also more specific notions such as the expression of the common will, the moral development of the individual, the need to respect human diversity, or the rationality and efficiency of decisions. These values, or “desirable aspects of life,”1 are meant to be incarnated via the introduction and subsequent working of a democratic political system. Yet the very strength of the normative arguments for democracy, along with its vast spread over the last few decades, have produced a series of broader anticipations about the effects of democratic governance. Aside from what democracy may embody—be it political equality, individual freedom, or something else—a democratic political system is often expected to generate a number of side benefits such as better-consolidated state institutions; more firmly established rational-legal administrative structures; domestic and international peace; improved economic performance and development; and the adoption of redistributive and welfare policies. After all, the reasoning goes, if everyone is going to have a say on the way a country is governed, does it not follow that such self-evident public goods as peace or economic well-being should be among the obvious outcomes? Yet scholars as well as laypeople may be assuming too much, and swallowing a large dose of mythology about what democratization can actually do. Reforming a country’s political sphere in the direction of greater democracy can have a downside. No one can guarantee, for instance, that democracy will not lead to rising levels of poverty or inequality. Indeed, a closer look at the expert literature reveals concerns about the harmful consequences that may be associated with democratization. Most notable is the worry that in divided societies, elections or the prospect thereof may trigger or exacerbate violent conflicts. Only slightly less prominent is the fear that participatory politics may promote poor economic performance and gradual decline. On balance, however, democracy gets credit for causing mostly positive effects. The introduction of democracy is thus portrayed as something worthwhile not only for its own sake, but also as a useful (if indirect) method for promoting other goods. The question of democratization’s likely corollaries is of more than academic interest. Many a Western country’s foreign policy assumes, for example, that “good governance” (a concept boasting significant overlap with that of multiparty democracy) spurs economic development, Giovanni Carbone 125 or that promoting democracy helps to bring about peace among as well as within nations. Understanding the extent to which these and similar assumptions are correct requires systematic theoretical reflection and empirical investigation. Inquiries into COD are a further step along the research path that comparative-politics scholars with an interest in thirdwave democracies have been following in recent years.2 These scholars began by studying democratic transitions and their causes, then moved to looking at the problems of democratic consolidation, and followed that with attention to questions surrounding the “quality of democracy.” In the new step that the COD approach represents, democratization is no longer observed as a dependent variable that must be explained, but rather as an independent variable that may help to explain a wide range of political, economic, and social effects. Democracy is here seen not as an endpoint, but as a starting point. Mapping Democracy’s Consequences Published studies of democracy’s effects are few compared to research efforts that view democracy as a dependent variable. Many of the former focus heavily on the problems of conflict and macroeconomic performance, and leave democratization’s other possible effects mostly aside. Social scientists, for example, “know surprisingly little about what types of governments tend to improve the welfare of the poor.”3 Studies of the impact of democratic change also suffer from being scattered and fragmented, so that even for subjects such as the relationship between democracy and economic growth, the considerable literature that now exists is “rather dispersed.”4 This is compounded by the relative compartmentalization of these works, with little mutual recognition among scholars interested in the various phenomena that are supposedly linked to democracy, nor much cumulative effort to clarify common, underlying issues. The very existence of the unifying thread that binds together this heterogeneous, but strongly interrelated, set of arguments is hardly acknowledged. To illustrate the breadth of the extant COD literature, the Table on page 128 below offers a nonexhaustive list of more than fifty different hypotheses—grouped under seven major headings plus a miscellaneous category—about the effects of democratic rule. It is important to note that all the hypotheses listed in the Table involve the expectation that democracy will produce good effects. This not only reflects the prevalence of an optimistic (or, if you like, optimistically biased) perspective toward democracy in the works under consideration, but also represents a deliberate choice that I have made in order to build a more straightforward and consistent framework. Existing COD studies differ, but have enough basic elements in common to form a distinct subfield of study. The key commonalities are a view of democracy as something that explains (rather than demands 126 Journal of Democracy explanation, as in most of the literature), and the insight that the implications of introducing democracy go beyond the change of regime itself. Another basic element of commonality is the shared set of definitional issues that studies of democratization’s consequences must face. All such works need, on the one hand, to specify what they mean by democracy and democratic change, and on the other, must define the democracydependent phenomena under examination. The debates within the COD literature on what is meant by democracy and democratization—a fundamental issue for democratization studies at large—raise three important questions. The first asks how broad a notion of democracy should be adopted. This relates to the crucial need to distinguish what democracy is from what democracy generates. The question is whether such items as stateness, political order, rule of law, basic resources, human rights, gender parity, or egalitarianism are constitutive parts of democracy, or, if not, what the relationship between them and democracy is supposed to be. The abovementioned elements are often found as “borderline features” on the margins of notions of democracy. But are they prerequisites of democracy, essential aspects of democracy, or possible consequences of democracy? Investigating the consequences of democratic change requires that the independent variable—in this case, “democracy” itself—be demarcated in a particularly economical way. For this reason, the best expedient is to adopt Joseph Schumpeter’s famously minimalist notion of democracy as institutionalized political competition carried out by means of free and fair elections. The second issue has to do with the “magnitude” of the regime change. 5 A certain phenomenon—promotion of interethnic peace, for instance— may be explained not merely by a given country’s introduction of democratic institutions, but also by the extent of the political changes that the democratization process implied. The changes undergone by country X after moving (let us say) from light authoritarianism to low-quality electoral democracy may plausibly be much less crucial than those experienced by country Y, which moved from a harsh authoritarian regime to a well-functioning democratic system and thus climbed more rungs on the democratic ladder. Where political change is more basic and far-reaching, the stimulus to side-effects is likely to be that much stronger. The third problem also relates to the need to observe what follows democratization, a need that distinguishes the COD approach. Time is a crucial factor: Once democratic reforms are adopted, how long does it take for the expected consequences to appear? The short-term impact of democracy may be quite different from its long-term, durable effects. If we are unaware of this, we risk missing what are arguably the “true” effects of democratization. With regard to inequality, for example, the claim has been made that “at least approximately 20 years of democratic experience are required for the egalitarian effect to occur.”6 Countries that are now democratic, but which were not so five years ago, may not yet have Giovanni Carbone 127 gone through this reduction of inequality. If they are included in a crossnational sample simply on the basis of their current “democratic status,” their presence will tend to reduce any estimate of democratization’s effects on income disparity. Rather than simply measuring a country’s level of democracy at any given point in time, therefore, one should quantify the “stock of democracy”7—or, in other words, the extent of experience with democracy—that the country has accumulated. Democratic processes need time to take root and flourish; a longitudinal definition, therefore, can have a decisive impact on research findings. Aside from definitional issues, the interrelations and overlap among the expected by-products of democratic change lend further elements of unity to COD studies. The intertwining is most evident when we look at the causal mechanisms that the various theoretical explanations put forward to account for the hypothesized relationships. A phenomenon that one strand of the COD literature examines as a dependent variable often appears as an intervening variable in another strand. If, say, the argument is made that democracies increase growth or reduce conflict by lessening inequality, scholars whose main interest lies in finding out what causes good economic performance or civil wars could benefit by hearing what researchers who study the links between democracy and social inequality have to say. Thus, a more systematic examination of the causal mechanisms implied by existing theories highlights the interrelations among various strands within the COD subfield of study and shows that such strands would strongly benefit from reciprocal recognition. It may be that some transformations turn out to be mutually reinforcing—a switch to democracy may, by reducing inequality, strengthen a regime’s capacity to bring about or maintain internal peace. Other shifts, however, might involve trade-offs, as in the scenario where democracy’s reduction of inequality also works to dampen economic growth. If tradeoffs really exist, understanding the implications of democratic change is ever more crucial, as the distinct consequences expected from the introduction of democracy may have to be weighed against each other in assessing the desirability of political reforms: Would we be willing to foster democratization if we knew that, while reducing inequalities, it would also threaten to spark violent domestic conflicts? Improved Social Welfare? Among the lines of inquiry within the COD literature is one that explores the relationship between democracy and social welfare. This can be a starting point for gathering together some selected studies and looking at the way they constitute a fairly coherent, if still dispersed, body of work. In many early cases of democratization, a key motive was to improve social welfare by tackling poverty, redistributing wealth, and establishing new social services and social-protection systems. Without reforms in the 128 Journal of Democracy Table—Purported Effects of Democracy Main Hypothesis Sub-Hypotheses Democracy . . . Democracy . . . enhances nation-building makes state authority more legitimate weakens communal identities advances citizenship rights strengthens the state lessens the authority of nonstate centers of power makes state authority more legitimate reduces coups d’état increases international legitimacy strengthens administrative structures increases state revenues increases the size of the state improves the rule of law reduces arbitrary rule reduces corruption and clientelism improves public-service provision promotes domestic peace and order reduces armed conflicts reduces coups d’état reduces nonstate armed centers of power reduces communal conflicts reduces political violence reduces probability of mass murder and genocide promotes international peace strengthens national security favors peaceful settlements of international disputes favors peaceful settlements with other democracies favors victory in war reduces military spending encourages use of economic sanctions promotes interstate cooperation promotes participation in international peacekeeping reduces terrorism favors economic development raises growth rates stabilizes growth rates stabilizes economic policy improves the protection of property rights lowers fiscal deficits lowers inflation improves credit ratings favors foreign investments makes development aid effective facilitates economic reforms promotes privatization promotes economic liberalization reduces taxation promotes trade openness promotes financial openness increases social welfare lowers inequality lowers poverty levels raises wages raises social spending facilitates social reform facilitates land reform improves human development improves education improves health prevents famine also has other effects improves respect for human rights promotes gender equality favors protection of the environment improves trust and social capital makes people happier Giovanni Carbone 129 political sphere, it was felt, social needs would never receive proper attention. The notion that there is a positive relationship between democracy and social welfare assumes that the type of process used to make collective decisions shapes the substance of what is decided. The introduction of universal adult suffrage and democratic politics entailed an opening of the political arena and its decision-making processes to previously excluded social strata. Once included, the reasoning goes, the least privileged will demand policies that give them more access to material resources, promote a more equitable distribution of wealth, and improve the well-being of the many, rather than the few. Political democracy will thus sooner or later change social outcomes. For most political economists, it is “nearly axiomatic that democracy serves as a mechanism for redistribution.”8 A number of specific causal mechanisms are supposedly at play in the democracy-welfare linkage. Competitive and inclusive politics creates an environment in which the demands of the worse-off can be openly voiced in public debates and the media. Claims can be advanced and pressure exerted in organized, sustained, and systematic ways through interest groups, political parties, social movements, and the ballot box. Pluralist elections enable voters to exercise real influence by holding rulers accountable for the outcomes of their decisions. The needs of the poor can no longer be neglected as policy makers concerned with gaining popular consensus find it a matter of their own self-interest to provide public goods and services rather than trade in private rents.9 Even where certain elements of democracy (such as alternation in power, a lively civil society, or direct forms of participation) are absent or inchoate, electoral pressures may be enough to prompt policy changes. This contrasts sharply with the way things work in full-fledged nondemocratic regimes, where even the most ill-chosen policies and disastrous consequences may fail to knock the ruling group from its perch “as long as the authoritarian regime’s core constituency . . . is well compensated.”10 Yet the idea that democracy benefits the many and the needy may have a shakier basis than is commonly assumed. The experience of East Asia’s “developmental states,” for example, appears to show that state leaders who enjoy a degree of insulation from social demands and bottom-up pressures may adopt policies that contribute impressively to raising the living standards of the less-advantaged. In this view, authoritarian regimes may be better able to protect the interests of the poor and to implement measures that tend to reduce inequality. The very notion that democracy means inclusive politics may be misleading. Where majoritarian institutions are in place, democratic politics may produce a distinction between winners and losers that ends up marginalizing certain groups. Even if outnumbered, the middle class may turn out to be better organized and hence more influential than the poor, with the latter struggling to affect decision-making processes in anything more than a marginal way. Furthermore, formally extending the franchise and opening up public debate 130 Journal of Democracy is no guarantee that key social issues such as famine, poverty, education, or health will acquire political saliency. If they do not, electoral processes are unlikely to make much difference. Finally, nondemocratic practices may prove resilient and continue to play a significant role in countries that have undergone democratic reform. To the extent that informal processes and neopatrimonial clienteles are more relevant than electoral mechanisms and the rule of law, the assumption that voters are in a position to demand and obtain responses to their social-welfare needs may be misplaced. Is there any evidence that the formal recognition of a political role for the worse-off actually makes a difference? The empirical literature regarding democracy’s impact on social-welfare policy focuses on the ways in which extension of the franchise creates pressures and incentives for those in government to a) ensure the survival of the deprived; b) fight against, and possibly eliminate, poverty; c) distribute income in a more equitable manner; and d) expand and improve the provision of social services. At the most basic level, democratic rule helps to put the survival concerns of vulnerable people on the agenda of elected governments, which are held accountable through the combination of a free flow of information, open public debate, and electoral mechanisms. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has famously claimed that democracy protects the lives of the underprivileged by working as an early-warning system that helps to avert major social disasters. Even in countries as vulnerable as India or Botswana, open political systems have allegedly been instrumental in staving off the worst food crises, so that “no substantial famine has ever occurred in a country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press . . . [as] democracy . . . would spread the penalty of famine to the ruling groups and the political leadership.” By contrast, regardless of their broader economic performance, nondemocratic governments in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, and, most notably, China had no mechanisms to learn about popular needs and make politicians respond to them in a timely fashion. These states repeatedly failed to prevent famines—sometimes even using the withholding of food as a weapon—and thus failed to protect the lives of the poor. The lesson that Sen draws from this is that rights and needs are strongly interconnected, as “political rights can have a major role in providing incentives and information towards the solution of economic privation.”11 Besides favoring the sheer survival of the worse-off, democracy raises expectations about broader improvements in social welfare, including poverty eradication, wealth distribution, and human development. Democratic change may promote social policies that reshape the distribution of income. These can come in the form of land reform and changes in labor policy; fiscal and social-security policies, including pensions and welfareoriented transfer payments; housing and social services (including health and education); and even policies designed to empower women. When it comes to fighting poverty, democracies have a modest record. Giovanni Carbone 131 From Bangladesh to Namibia, success stories can be cited in which electoral-competition mechanisms seem “to have acted as a favourable impetus towards the introduction of policies aimed at the very poorest.” Overall, however, “chronic poverty and destitution remain visible phenomena in long-standing democracies, [and] there is little evidence to suggest that democratisation is the long-term panacea for the poorest.”12 Poor countries with established democratic regimes, in particular, did prevent poverty from worsening significantly, but they only achieved moderate results in reducing indigence. No developing country that is also a democracy has been successful at eliminating poverty.13 The record of authoritarian states, on the contrary, is much more varied. While some, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, have driven the material conditions of the needy from bad to worse, others have shown themselves remarkably adept at bringing poverty down to extremely low levels. Singapore is a case in point here, as are South Korea and Taiwan, which are democracies now but which made their large strides in poverty reduction during periods of authoritarian rule. Democracy’s limited success at fighting poverty in low-income countries constitutes a paradox. This is not only because democracy should in theory provide channels for the expression of such compelling needs, but also because developing countries, where poor people are so numerous, are precisely the places where they should be able to bring the greatest electoral pressure to bear on behalf of antipoverty measures. What can explain the failure of such pressure to appear? Alex de Waal suggests that the reason why poverty, homelessness, and malnutrition have not been defeated— whether in developing countries or in advanced democracies such as the United States—is that forms of deprivation other than famine have rarely achieved significant political saliency.14 Even in India, where poverty is terrible and widespread, political contention has rarely focused on poverty alleviation. (One exception is the 1971 general election, when Indira Gandhi ran on a platform of “abolish[ing] poverty.”) In many developing countries, the reason may be that voters (including poor ones) privilege some other form or forms of identity over that of socioeconomic class. Questions of poverty and economic redistribution will likely be left by the wayside if elections come to turn on ethnicity or religion, for example.15 The Impact on Inequality and Social Services If democracy has a mixed record tackling poverty, perhaps it fares better in addressing inequality. The idea that a reduction of political disparity must cause a reduction of economic inequality seems straightforward. In fact, it does appear that redistributive policies are more likely to be introduced under democratic rule. Some empirical findings show, for example, that popular pressures in developing countries are likely to place land reform on the agenda of elected governments, and that wage increases are more 132 Journal of Democracy easily achieved within a democratic framework. 16 Under authoritarian systems, by contrast, landowners and capitalists with a stake in the ruling coalition are likely to prevent redistributive processes from taking place, as happened in Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, in Brazil after a military-backed regime took power in 1964, and in Iran under the Shah. Despite a tendency toward more redistribution, real-world democracies nonetheless stop short of fulfilling the so-called median-voter hypothesis. The latter posits that, if the median voter’s income is lower than the average income, democratic politics will bring about a redistribution of national wealth through, for example, progressive tax rates. 17 But the East European cases of transition after the fall of communism are instances in which inequality went up rather than down as democratization advanced. And as mentioned above, South Korea and Taiwan undertook efforts to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth before rather than after they became democracies. How can we explain this mismatch between the median-voter hypothesis and the evidence? Perhaps the poor simply lack the political capacity to demand and obtain redistribution, or perhaps they restrain themselves from making radical demands in this direction. 18 Moreover, while the short-term effects of democracy admit of enough ambiguity to make generalizations problematic, substantial empirical evidence suggests that, in the long run, democracy does reduce inequality. In this sense, an inverse U-shaped relationship, or a “political Kuznets curve,” appears to exist: The advent of democracy has initial costs in terms of rising inequality, but eventually democracy will tend to shrink the gap between rich and poor and produce more equal outcomes.19 Enlarging the Public Sector Besides openly redistributive measures, democratic politics is also expected to generate calls for an overall enlargement of the public sector. Low-income groups tend to benefit most from state intervention, since, in contrast to the upper classes, they are not in a position to secure such services privately. The newly enfranchised middle and lower sections of the population are thus likely to demand both a general expansion in the provision of public services (including, for example, access to electric power or clean water) as well as a specific extension of social services (for instance, more schools and health clinics). An empirical assessment of the impact of democratic change on social services requires a distinction between the “scope” of services (that is, how much is spent on them) and their “quality” (how effectively they are delivered). With regard to the former, a range of cross-sectional quantitative studies confirms the existence of a positive link between democracy and social spending. In both Africa and Latin America, for example, countries that are ruled by elected leaders spend more on primary education. Rural voters appear to be particularly keen on education spending, which Giovanni Carbone 133 can be a significantly redistributive policy whose greatest beneficiaries are the poor and their children.20 Electoral competition, as David Brown explains, thus promotes responses to this kind of demand: [D]emocratic politicians are driven to adopt survival strategies designed to widen their electoral base. Allocating government resources to programs such as housing, public works, health and education all represent timehonoured strategies of broadening one’s base of support. Directing resources toward education is a particularly effective strategy. . . . Spending on education, particularly primary education, reaches a significant segment of the population. Constructing new schools, establishing school lunch programs, supplying books and other resources all provide tangible evidence to the voter that his or her political representative is worth re-electing.21 While the effect of democracy on social spending seems clear, the existence of a relationship between democracy and actual government performance in “the social sector” is, surprisingly, more controversial. Of course it is easy to list cases, ranging from Bismarck’s Prussia to Suharto’s Indonesia, in which authoritarian regimes have achieved impressive expansions of social services. Despite this, several researchers have found that democracy has a positive impact on levels of public health and education.22 In a pair of essays published in these pages, for example, Patricio Navia and Thomas D. Zweifel have shown that infant-mortality rates—which they take as indicators of chronic hunger, health, and general social welfare—are lower in democracies than in autocracies. This holds true, moreover, at all levels of per capita income (PCI) and for the period before and during the Cold War as well as the years after its end.23 As for education, an examination of primary-school enrollments in developing countries from 1960 through 1987 reveals a strong link with democratic rule. Interestingly, democracy’s effect is greatest in the case of poor countries: Among those where PCI was around US$1,000 per year, the share of grade-school–age children actually enrolled in primary classes was 12 percentage points higher among democracies as opposed to nondemocracies. At a PCI level of around $4,365 per annum, however, authoritarian and democratic countries have similar (very large) shares of their preteen youngsters in school. Beyond a certain level of development, in other words, all countries tend to achieve universal primary education.24 In sub-Saharan Africa, the incentives for democratic governments to promote primary education seem to be much stronger than for full-fledged autocracies: The democracies have higher rates of primary-school attendance, and these correlate positively with higher rates of public approval for the democracies’ presidents. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the provision of primary education was a salient issue in national elections across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. In each country, an elected government went on to abolish primary-school fees.25 Other researchers, however, claim that increased social spending 134 Journal of Democracy rarely translates into larger outputs (such as immunization or schoolenrollment rates) or better outcomes (such as higher literacy or lower infant mortality). According to Joan M. Nelson, the electoral pressures that foster increases in social spending have a substantial impact neither upon social services nor upon the actual education or health of the populace. Improvements in the quality of services and the fairness with which they are distributed would require institutional reforms or resource reallocations, but bureaucratic resistance and a public without enough interest, information, or capacity to assess change raise tall obstacles to real reform. “Politicians in democracies,” as Nelson puts it, “receive signals from the public and major interest groups that favor spending and expansion, but not reallocation or reform of social services.”26 Thus, as Michael Ross observes, more money may be spent on health without infant and child mortality falling by much, because the additional public goods that are produced in response to the median voter’s preferences selectively target middle-income households. Yet the latter would buy essential health services from private providers anyway—middle-class people already have the wherewithal to keep their babies from dying— and thus the higher public spending’s net benefit to society as a whole is limited. The poor, on the contrary, are not the main beneficiaries of these policies despite the fact that they lack access to alternatives.27 The notion that democracy fosters human development is thus subject to serious challenge. Not only the reality and strength of the relationship but also the underlying causal mechanisms have come under question. Against such skeptical analyses, those who argue for a positive link between democracy and human development raise the issue of time. Although the presence or level of democracy at any given point in time may make little or no demonstrable difference, over a longer haul the persistence of democracy does have a positive impact on human development (as this is measured by the summary index of infant mortality). In the immediate wake of a transition, a new democratic regime typically finds itself overwhelmed, with key institutions and processes that have not yet had a chance to consolidate. Under such circumstances, politics and policy making often become scrambling affairs of “putting out fires.” When democracy becomes more established, by contrast, governments become more likely to adopt the kind of long-term perspective that favors the creation and execution of better social policy.28 Although the link between democracy’s advent and improvements in social welfare seems as if it should be straightforward, the few studies that have tried to test this link’s existence hint at a more complex connection. Democratic mechanisms can be instrumental in addressing extreme vulnerability, but they are better at protecting the survival of the poor than they are at vigorously fighting poverty. Democratic change can also help to reduce the distance between a country’s low-income and high-income groups, but such reduction may take time to appear, and then only after an Giovanni Carbone 135 initial worsening of inequality. Democracies tend to spend more on social sectors than authoritarian governments do, but this is no guarantee that those who are worse off will benefit. On what remains an understudied subject, these initial, tentative findings are the best currently available. Are such results enough to satisfy those who hold high hopes connected to the introduction of democracy? Consequences for Consolidation In terms of both its normative legitimacy and its spread on the ground, democracy has gained unprecedented momentum over the last few decades, some recent setbacks notwithstanding. A sound understanding of democratization’s side effects is critical not only to our current net assessment of what democratic reforms have wrought around the world, but also to our grasp of democracy’s likely prospects. In order to survive and consolidate over the long term, any new democratic regime will need to undergo (among other things) a process of gradual legitimization. Legitimacy, in turn, can be acquired in two fundamental ways. The first is normative: People hold values and beliefs that assert democracy’s inherent superiority and value it “for its own sake.” The second is performance-based: People come to accept democracy because it helps to attain valued goals such as material wellbeing or social peace. Although these two dimensions of legitimacy are distinct from each other on the conceptual level, in real life they are interrelated. Deeply engrained democratic values would likely lead the elites and ordinary citizens of an established democracy to resist the abandonment of participatory politics. And yet, gravely and consistently dismal results in the achievement of other goals (security, economic well-being, or social equality) might overwhelm the will to remain loyal to the democratic model. Of course, compared to nondemocratic regimes, democratic arrangements are unique in that they offer a chance to eject the government of the day without sacrificing the whole democratic edifice. In practice, however, this goes only so far: For emerging democracies especially, legitimacy requires at least a modicum of adequate performance. In the latter’s absence, people are likely to withdraw their support, and may accept the wholesale abandonment of democracy on the ground that some nondemocratic alternative will prove more effective at key tasks such as keeping order and promoting prosperity. Looking at the by-products that democracy “produces,” therefore, is vitally important if we wish fully to understand democracy’s own development, including the possibility of finding remedies for its least appealing consequences. Ultimately, however, if, where, and when all “good things” do not go together, democracy is more likely to be put in question. Thus, through their positive or negative impact on the legitimacy of the regime, 136 Journal of Democracy the consequences of democracy feed back into and affect the very process of democratic consolidation. In an apparent paradox, the effects of democracy can themselves become important causes of democratization. What democracy is able to generate, particularly in developing countries, will crucially affect democratic prospects the world over. NOTES The author wishes to thank Davide Grassi, Rocco Ronza, Elisa Giunchi, Federico Battera, Matthijs Bogaards, Gloria Regonini, Matteo Jessoula, and Marco Giuliani for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this essay. 1. Adam Przeworski et al., Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and WellBeing in the World, 1950–1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 14. 2. Marc F. Plattner, “A Skeptical Perspective,” in Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino, eds., Assessing the Quality of Democracy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 77. 3. Michael Ross, “Is Democracy Good for the Poor?” American Journal of Political Science 50 (October 2006): 871. 4. Aymo Brunetti, “Political Variables in Cross-Country Growth Analysis,” Journal of Economic Surveys 11 (June 1997): 163. 5. Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder, Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005), 17. 6. Edward N. Muller, “Democracy, Economic Development, and Income Inequality,” American Sociological Review 53 (February 1988), 59. 7. John Gerring et al., “Democracy and Economic Growth: A Historical Perspective,” World Politics 57 (April 2005): 323–64. 8. John Gerring, Strom Thacker, and Rodrigo Alfaro, “Democracy and Human Development,” unpubl. ms., 2006, 2. 9. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita et al., “Political Institutions, Policy Choice and the Survival of Leaders,” British Journal of Political Science 32 (October 2002): 559–90; David A. Lake and Matthew A. Baum, “The Invisible Hand of Democracy: Political Control and the Provision of Public Services,” Comparative Political Studies 34 (August 2001): 587–621. 10. Gerring et al., “Democracy and Human Development,” 5. 11. Amartya Sen, “An Argument on the Primacy of Political Rights: Freedoms and Needs,” New Republic, 10 January 1994, 32–34. 12. Sam Hickey, “The Politics of What Works in Reducing Chronic Poverty,” CPRC Working Paper 91, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, Manchester, England, March 2006, 27 and 10. 13. Ashutosh Varshney, “Why Have Poor Democracies Not Eliminated Poverty? A Suggestion,” Asian Survey 40 (September–October 2000): 718. 14. Alex de Waal, “Democratic Political Processes and the Fight Against Famine,” IDS Working Paper 107, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, England, 2000, 13. Giovanni Carbone 137 15. Varshney, “Why Have Poor Democracies Not Eliminated Poverty?” 729. 16. Patrick McAuslan, “Making Law Work: Restructuring Land Relations in Africa,” Development and Change 29 (July 1998): 527; Dani Rodrik, “Democracies Pay Higher Wages,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (August 1999): 707–38. 17. A.H. Meltzer and S.F. Richard, “A Rational Theory of the Size of Government,” Journal of Political Economy 89 (October 1981): 914–27. 18. 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