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Democracy in CEE: The Social and Economic Embeddedness

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Abstract

During the last decades, considerable progress has been made in building democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. However, building liberal democracies is a complex process, implying not only the procedural conditions for electoral democracy, but also the institutionalization of accountability mechanisms and embedding the democratic values in the patterns of citizen’s behavior and attitudes. In the absence of such mechanisms, democracies remain in the state of hybrid regimes, captured in the gray zone between democracy and autocracy, without guarantees of reaching the final stage of democratic consolidation. The European post- countries vary significantly in terms of consolidation levels of their democratic regimes, ranging from consolidated democracies to semi-authoritarian regimes. The paper attempts to explore the potential causes and available resources for consolidation, using the recent data from internationally comparable surveys and ratings. Based on Wolfgang Merkel’s concept of embedded democracy, the analysis focuses on the importance of consolidating forces in the external environment, encompassing the socio-economic context, the strength of civil society and the influence of external political conditionality. Estimating a multiple linear regression model, we test the relevance of social and economic inequalities, civil society, and international integration as predictors of the level of democratic consolidation.

Keywords

  • Democratic consolidation
  • Institutional change
  • Inequality
  • Civil society
  • CEE

JEL Classification

  • E02
  • P30

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development for the funds and support that made this research possible.

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Correspondence to Marija Džunić .

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Džunić, M., Golubović, N., Stanković, J.J. (2020). Democracy in CEE: The Social and Economic Embeddedness. In: Śliwiński, A., Polychronidou, P., Karasavvoglou, A. (eds) Economic Development and Financial Markets . Contributions to Economics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32426-1_2

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