Path-Dependent Explanations of Regime Change: Central America in Comparative Perspective

  • James Mahoney


This article explores the application of ideas about path dependence to the study of national political regime change. It first reviews the central components of pathdependent explanation, including the concepts of critical juncture and legacy. This mode of explanation is then employed in the analysis of diverging regime trajectories in Central America during the 19th and 20th centuries. The article argues that the 19th-century liberal reform period was a critical juncture that locked the Central American countries onto divergent paths of long-term development, culminanting in sharply contrasting regime outcomes. A final section puts the argument about Central America in a broader comparative perspective by considering other pathdependent explanations of regime change.


Policy Option Comparative International Development Path Dependence Regime Change Labor Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • James Mahoney

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