Exchange: The Sequencing “Fallacy”

Issue Date July 2007
Volume 18
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-9
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Countries taking the initial steps from dictatorship toward electoral politics are especially prone to civil and international war. Yet states endowed with coherent institutions—such as a functioning bureaucracy and the elements needed to construct a sound legal system—have often been able to democratize peacefully and successfully. Consequently, whenever possible, efforts to promote democracy should try to follow a sequence of building institutions before encouraging mass competitive elections. Democratizing in the wrong sequence not only risks bloodshed in the short term, but also the mobilization of durable illiberal forces with the capacity to block democratic consolidation over the long term.

About the Authors

Edward D. Mansfield

Edward D. Mansfield is Hum Rosen Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

View all work by Edward D. Mansfield

Jack Snyder

Jack Snyder is Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. His books include From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (2000).

View all work by Jack Snyder