The Political Economy of Regime Change

Course Description: 

Core course - Comparative Politics track
Core course - Political Economy track

Over the last four decades, the world has witnessed the transition of political and economic regimes - from autocracies to democracies and various types of political regimes in between, and from closed to open market economies and back. The current situation provides ground for disparate, and sometimes outright contradictory, diagnoses about the present state of democracy around the globe, its future development, and the interaction between economic and political processes. Clear non-democracies like China show economic growth rates that are overwhelming both in size and duration, while rulers in Russia and elsewhere could profit from a resource boom that has enabled them to devise sophisticated measures to secure their power and turn their political system into hybrid regimes. At the same time, popular uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa have brought down long-standing dictators and citizens seek not only social justice and economic growth but also political democracy. Meanwhile, democracy is in crisis even in its heartland in the North-Western hemisphere, not least due to profound economic transformations and changes.

This course is designed to give a broad overview of the literature on the processes of economic and political regime change and their interaction in the early and late 20th and early 21st century. There are four main parts: I. Core concepts and theories; II. Historical Perspectives; III. Contemporary Issues; IV Student presentations. The aim is to provide students with the analytic tools, theories, and concepts that enable them to make better sense of the current economic and political processes in countries around the globe, with a special emphasis on the link between economic and political changes. The list of concepts discussed is comprised of, among others, types of transitions, hybrid regimes, the consolidation, and the qualities of democracy. The topic of this course will be dealt with from a global perspective. We will thus attempt to capture cases and evidence from different world regions.

Learning Outcomes: