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Unfinished Business: The Political Economy of Subnational Democracy



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Juan Rebolledo DO NOT CIRCULATE Unfinished Business The Political Economy of Subnational Democracy First Very Rough Attempt at a Prospectus Prepared for the Leitner Seminar on Political Economy April 8 2009 Understanding the determinants of both political and economic development is one of the age old questions that should nonetheless remain at the forefront of our research agenda Recent years have seen a resurgence of socioeconomic explanations to political development In particular the study of both the economic causes and consequences of democratization has become quite popular This literature however has assumed that political development seen as achieving a national democracy will inevitably permeate to the whole territory After democratization the subunits within the regime which had not already done so will follow suite in becoming more democratic and the economic effects of the new institution will begin to be felt throughout This has not been the case In countries as diverse as India Brazil Philippines Mexico and Argentina among others subnational regimes with authoritarian characteristics successfully maintain control despite national democratization Three questions of great relevance emerge Why do some subnational units retain authoritarian characteristics while others successfully consolidate democracy How are these subnational units able to resist pressures for further democratization What are the socioeconomic impacts of retaining such a m lange of institutions A research project exploring these issues in light of the recent advances in the democratization literature is due This type of inquiry is not new and it s not exclusive to developing nations V O Key s canonical text on Southern Politics is an exploration of these issues in the United States However no general theory exists that works as framework to understand the dynamics of such subnational regimes We need a better sense of how national democracy spreads or does not spread throughout the



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