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The established view in political science is that a sound and functioning state has to be in place before democracy can be introduced. State first, and then democracy. While acknowledging the existence of a basic state infrastructure as a necessary starting point, we examine the possibility that democratization itself may play an important role in the subsequent development and consolidation of the state. We do this by addressing the major conceptual and methodological shortcomings of existing research on this topic. The results of our panel analysis, covering a population of 122 countries, show that both a country's level of democracy and the interaction between degree and duration of democracy positively and significantly affect the consolidation of the state and of its two key individual dimensions, namely, political order and administrative capacity.