Economic Explanations of Regime Change

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How much do economic factors (such as inequality) explain regime change? Critically evaluate various "economic" theories of regime change (such as Boix's or Acemoglu and Robinson's). What do their models explain? What do they attempt to explain? Do alternative theories better explain regme change?

Instructions

  1. Summarize at least a few of the "economic" explanations of regime change discussed in class and noted in the course outline (e.g., Boix, Acemoglu and Daron, Ansell and Samuels, Houle). In what respect are these "economic" explanations? To what do they attribute regime change?
  2. Critically consider the strengths and weaknesses of these explanations, using other scholarship or examples from particular episodes of regime change as needed. What can these explanations really explain? What do they miss?
  3. Consider whether alternative non-economic explanations would do a better job of explaining regime change. Note that you need to provide some evidence that they would - e.g., that your proposed explanation would better explain the broad patterns of regime change that we see, not just specific cases (though explanations of specific cases are always useful). Make sure you are clear as to what constitutes a non-economic explanation. You may also wish to consider whether non-economic explanations of regime change complement or substitute for economic explanations (i.e., whether they they exclude economic explanations or work together with them).

Resources

  1. The articles tagged regime change in our bibliography are a good start for research on this topic, though the list is not exhaustive.


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