Comparative studies of democratization have produced two types of generalizations: those having nearly universal application and those applying to a range of countries within a region. In the first category are such arguments as the role of high levels of economic development in guaranteeing democratic sustainability, the centrality of political elites in establishing and terminating democracy, and deficits in rule of law and state capacity as the primary challenge to the quality and survival of new democracies. In the second category are contrasts between recent democratization in post-Socialist Europe versus Latin America and southern Europefor example, in the relationship between democratization and economic reform and in the costs and benefits for democratic consolidation of breaking quickly versus slowly with the authoritarian past. The two sets of conclusions have important methodological implications for how comparativists understand generalizability and the emphasis placed on historical versus proximate causation.

Comparative Democratization: Big and Bounded Generalizations’, ValerieBunceComparative Political Studies, 33 (6/7) (2000): 703–734. Published by SAGE Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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