Democratic Diffusion under the Magnifying Glass: A micro perspective on the change of attitudes toward democratic governance through transnational linkages in authoritarian contexts
Title: Democratic Diffusion under the Magnifying Glass: A micro perspective on the change of attitudes toward democratic governance through transnational linkages in authoritarian contexts
Author: FREYBURG, Tina
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2012/30
Students of democratic diffusion argue that strong ties to democracies foster political transformation in non-democratic regimes. They theoretically specify a long causal chain linking the micro-phenomenon of the democratic socialization of individual agents to the macro-phenomenon of regime-type change. However, we know little about the extent to which and the conditions under which transnational linkages familiarize domestic agents with democratic rules and practices. This paper empirically scrutinizes the micro-foundation of the democratic diffusion argument by analyzing the impact of social linkage (international education) and communication linkage (foreign media) on the attitudes toward democratic governance of state officials in the stable authoritarian regime of Morocco. As the machinery of government bureaucracy is particularly relevant for democratic change. However, bureaucrats, as direct beneficiaries of the incumbent regime, usually prefer the status quo. The results challenge the democratization potential of transnational linkages. Multiple regression analyses based on original survey data produce little supporting evidence for a democratizing effect of media broadcasting and international education on the attitudes of Moroccan state officials. While it appears that study visits to democracies have no statistically significant effect, foreign media can positively shape a state official’s attitude, but only in non-politicized policy fields.
Subject: Attitudes; authoritarian regimes; bureaucracy; democratic governance; democratisation; diffusion; linkage; socialisation
Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2012 convention of the European Political Studies Association (EPSA), and the conference “Microfoundations of diffusion research” at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, in Sept. 2012.
Type of Access: openAccess