Do international factors, including democracy promotion policies of Western actors, play a significant role in encouraging or discouraging transitions to democracy? If so, when and how do external incentives, financial and technical aid, socialization techniques, diplomacy or demonstration effects influence domestic decision-makers to attempt to transition to democracy? What combination of domestic conditions and external factors are most likely to lead to the weakening of non-democratic regimes and their replacement with democratic governments? What are the pathways of external influence on domestic change and what does the nexus of interaction between external and domestic variables look like in reality?
CDDRL's research program Evaluating International Influences on Democratic Development aims to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the efficacy of available instruments to encourage democratic development, in an effort to learn what has worked, what has not, and under what conditions.
The first of four research tracks focuses on transition to electoral democracy. By exploring a set of case studies of successful and failed democratic transitions since the advent of the Third Wave of democratizations in 1974, the program seeks to gain a better understanding of external influence on domestic democratic development dynamics, and to provide a better guide to future academics and policymakers interested in promoting democracy abroad.