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Poverty and Development

Poverty and Development (3rd edn)

Tim Allen and Alan Thomas
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date: 23 June 2024

p. 36317. Democratisation, Governance, and Developmentlocked

p. 36317. Democratisation, Governance, and Developmentlocked

  • David Potter,
  • Alan Thomas
  •  and María del Pilar López-Uribe


This chapter investigates the concepts of liberal democracy, democratization, and governance and how they relate to development. There are several critiques of liberal democracy, which mostly correspond to well-known problems for any political regime. They include the 'tyranny of the majority', élite capture, clientelism, and the threat of populist capture. Alternative models claimed by their proponents to be democratic include illiberal democracy, direct democracy, and democratic centralism. Especially for proponents of market economy, liberal democracy and economic development are seen as complementary aspects of modern society. However, it is not clear that democratization leads to development. Successful development requires a supportive institutional environment. This may occur in a liberal democracy but it is not democracy itself that matters but 'something else' — which may be called 'quality of governance', including impartiality and effectiveness.

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