The Effect of Economic Policies/Behavior on Contemporary Threats to Democracy

Kevin Aslett. 2020. "The Effect of Economic Policies/Behavior on Contemporary Threats to Democracy"

In the last decade, the world has witnessed increased democratic back-sliding as democratic institutions came under threat from a myriad of different directions. Most prominently there has been a marked increase in weakening checks on executive power, which impede the power of the opposition to challenge executive decisions. In Africa, the Senegalese President Wade altered legislative rules to his benefit and created a new upper house filled with his own appointees. In Eastern Europe, Viktor Yanukovych (President of Ukraine) banned multi-party blocs and gave himself the ability to hire and fire cabinet members and governors. This dissertation contributes new theories on the impact of economic policies/behavior on political phenomena (patronage and populism) detrimental to contemporary democratic institutions, such as checks on executive power. The papers in this dissertation present evidence for how economic policies and behavior affect democracy in areas of the world where we have seen the most back-sliding over the last decade (Central and Eastern Europe) and the weakest democratic institutions (Africa). These papers are not conclusive in answering why democratic-back-sliding occurs or why weak democracies remain stagnant, but they offer novel theories on the effect of specific economic policies/behaviors on contemporary threats to democracy.

Status of Research or Work: 
Research Type: