The Quality of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

Contribution to “Democracy under Stress“, ed. by. P. Guasti and Z. Mansfeldová, Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague 2018, 31-53.

 

The young democracies in East-Central and Southeast Europe have been particularly susceptible to the wave of populist, anti-establishment and extremist political forces that now challenge liberal democracy across the globe. These challengers claim to represent the opinion of the ordinary people against a political establishment that is portrayed as corrupt, elitist and controlled by foreign interests. Their polarizing and anti-pluralist ideological stances have contributed to a more confrontational political competition. Several countries have also seen “democratic backsliding”,  an erosion of the institutions and mechanisms that constrain and scrutinize the exercise of executive authority. Illiberal policies have targeted opposition parties, parliaments, independent public watchdog institutions, judiciaries, local and regional self-government, mass media, civil society organizations, private business and minority communities. Incumbent elites have justified these policies as measures to strengthen popular democracy and to fulfill the promises of the post-1989 democratic transitions. read more

Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsordnungen

in: Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium, hrsg. v. K. Mause, Ch. Müller u. K. Schubert u. Springer-Verlag 2018, 89-113; Ko-Autor: J. Zweynert

Abstract

Die Analyse der Zusammenhänge zwischen wirtschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Ordnung hat in Politik- und Wirtschaftswissenschaft nicht nur eine lange Tradition, sondern erlebt derzeit auch eine lebhafte Renaissance. Das vorliegende Kapitel gibt einen Überblick über die früheren und heutigen Beiträge zu dieser Thematik. Der Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf Forschungen an der Schnittstelle von Wirtschafts- und Politikwissenschaft. Darüber hinausgehend bemühen wir uns, eine Erklärung dafür zu finden, warum das Interesse an dem hier behandelten Thema im historischen Zeitablauf auffälligen Schwankungen unterliegt. Unsere diesbezügliche These lautet: Immer dann, wenn das Verhältnis von politischem und ökonomischem System dynamischen Veränderungen unterliegt, steigt das Interesse am Zusammenhang zwischen Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsordnungen; immer dann, wenn das Verhältnis der beiden gesellschaftlichen Subsysteme relativ stabil ist, beschäftigen sich Politikwissenschaftler und Ökonomen eher damit, was innerhalb „ihres“ jeweiligen Systems vor sich geht. read more

Core Executives in Central Europe

Handbook of East European Politics, ed. by P. Kopecký and A. Fagan, London: Routledge

Core executives have become increasingly important political actors and arenas due to several interlinked developments affecting both states and societies. Modernisation has weakened the ties between political parties and voters, making parties more dependent on state resources and, in particular, access to government. Since the political process has become more dominated by media communication, political controversy tends to be framed between chief executives and rival political leaders. Global economic integration has narrowed the policy discretion of nation states and fostered the spread of non-majoritarian institutions entrusted with regulatory functions. These trends have been associated with the growing weight of policy output as a source of legitimacy, in contrast to “input legitimacy” derived from democratic elections. Among the three branches of state power, executives control most of the tools available to influence policy outputs and the interventions of both domestic and international regulatory agencies. The crisis and politicisation of European integration have further enhanced the salience of national (chief) executives compared to national legislatures and supranational institutions. As a result, many of the choices characterising politics and policymaking are now made or shaped at the centres of executives. read more

Demokratisierungsprozesse und ihre Akteure

Ein Überblick zum Stand der Theoriebildung

i.E. in: Aufbruch und Resignation in Russland und der Ukraine: Protestbewegungen im langen Schatten des Kreml, hg. v. J. Mischke und O. Zabirko, Hannover 2017

Seit den Übergängen zur Demokratie in Ostmitteleuropa 1989/90 ist eine umfangreiche sozialwissenschaftliche Literatur zur Demokratisierung entstanden. Diese Arbeiten haben die Bedingungen, Verlaufsmuster und Ergebnisse von Demokratisierungsprozessen rekonstruiert und im Ländervergleich analysiert. Sie sind bisher jedoch noch nicht so weit fortgeschritten, dass man eine bestimmte Anzahl von Akteurkonstellationen und Strategien benennen könnte, die für die Errichtung und Konsolidierung demokratischer Institutionen notwendig und hinreichend sind. Während modernisierungstheoretische Studien die für eine stabile Demokratie erforderlichen ökonomischen und gesellschaftlichen Strukturbedingungen hervorhoben, betrachteten Studien zu den lateinamerikanischen und südeuropäischen Demokratie-Übergängen Abkommen (“Pakte”) zwischen Reformern innerhalb der herrschenden Elite und moderaten Oppositionsführern als die entscheidenden Weichenstellungen für die neue Demokratie. Die spätere Forschung argumentierte dagegen, dass stabile Demokratien sich nicht aus Kräftegleichgewichten bildeten, sondern dort, wo demokratische politische Akteure über die Kräfte des autoritären Regimes triumphierten. read more

BTI 2018 Kick-Off and Concept Paper

On 12/13 September the core group behind the Transformation Index (BTI) met at Bertelsmann Stiftung’s always impressive Gütersloh headquarters to prepare the new survey wave.

bertelsmann_stiftung
Swans’ view of the Foundation’s headquarters

BTI is a global expert survey on the quality of democracy, market economy and governance, now in its eighth edition (!) scheduled for publication in 2018. Questionnaires will be sent to country experts at the end of October. The submission of country reports will trigger off an elaborate procedure of reviewing, revising, calibrating, editing and lesson-drawing, keeping us busy throughout the next year. read more

Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation

A workshop with Belgrade Open School staff, 16-18 May 2016

To upgrade their research capacity, think tanks need access to methodological and conceptual tools that have recently been developed by researchers in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. My three-day workshop with Belgrade Open School provided an overview on rationalist and institutionalist approaches of policy analysis, focusing on examples from Europeanization studies. Notions of causation and strategies to deal with confounding causes formed the basis of our discussion on evaluation methods. The workshop also included an introduction to regression and factor analysis, two key tools of empirical policy research. read more

Methodology of Social Science Research

Training for the Institute of World Policy, Kiev, 4 September 2015

A full day of teaching with the staff of Ukraine’s leading independent think tank for International Relations, the Institute of World Policy. The main themes were:
1. Research design / causation, theory building;
2. Conceptualization and measurement
3. Qualitative and quantitative methods
4. Evaluating policies

Regression
(c) Martin Brusis

Video clips available here

Ethno-Regional Diversity and Political Integration in Eastern Europe

A seminar  for PhD students at Kazakh National University Al’-Farabi, Almaty

Eastern Europe has been shaped by historically late state and nation building. Due to this trajectory, questions of state identity and cohesion have acquired persisting political relevance. Ethnopolitical conflicts have led to the disintegration of all three state socialist federations. Ethnopolitical cleavages structure party systems in the new nation states of Eastern Europe, particularly where they are related to persisting ethnoregional diversity. read more

Теории демократизации: состояние исследований

Статья в сборнике “Беларусизация.
Можно ли завершить процесс институционального
строительства независимого государства?”, под редакцией Андрея Шутова, Вильнюс: Центр европейской трансформации 2014,  45-58.Belarusizatsiya

После целого ряда политических переходов, произошедших в Восточной Европе в 1989-90 годах, объем сравнительных исследований на тему демократизации значительно рос. Однако ученые до настоящего времени не пришли к согласию относительно комплекса созвездий действующих лиц и стратегий, которые являлись бы необходимыми и достаточными для установления и упрочения демократических институтов. В ранних исследованиях подчеркивалось значение заключения пактов между реформаторами внутри правящей элиты и умеренными лидерами оппозиции. В более поздних исследованиях упор делался на том, что стабильная демократия возникла только на базе таких созвездий, в которых демократические политические деятели доминировали над силами авторитарного режима. Явная консолидация после второй половины 1990-х годов политических режимов, расположенных между полной демократией и полной автократией, привела к возрождению структурных подходов. Такие попытки объяснения рассматривают конфликты государственности, социально-экономические условия и культурное наследие в качестве более важных факторов смены режимов, чем деятельность политических элит. read more

Quality of Democracy and the “Sustainable Governance Indicators”

Relating the Sustainable Governance Indicators
to the Quality of Democracy

Paper for the Workshop “Measuring Democracy”. IPSA Research Committee on the Quality of Democracy, DVPW-Arbeitskreis Demokratieforschung, Frankfurt/Main, 29 September – 1 October 2013

The Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) are a set of 147 detailed items and two aggregated indices that measure the quality of democracy (QoD), policy performance and executive governance in OECD member states. Two editions have been published since 2009 by the Bertelsmann Foundation, an NGO based in Germany. The SGI consist of qualitative expert assessments, country reports and data retrieved from official statistics. As the name suggests, the SGI have been designed to measure the quality of governance, a concept that overlaps with concepts of democracy or QoD, but has its distinct origins, ideational references and discourse communities. read more