The Modernization Trap

April 2017

Populist nationalism is emerging as the main competitor to liberal democracy. But despite its current resurgence, in the long run, like other illiberal paths to modernity, it is likely to prove a dead end.

The Puzzle of the Chinese Middle Class

April 2016

Seymour Martin Lipset argued that economic development would enlarge the middle class, and that the middle class would support democracy. To what extent will this general proposition prove true of China?

China and the “Singapore Model”

January 2016

China’s government looks to Singapore, the only country in the region to modernize without liberalizing, in hopes of finding the key to combining authoritarian rule with economic progress and “good governance.”

The Rise of the World’s Poorest Countries

October 2015

Widely believed to be hopelessly mired in poverty, stagnation, and dictatorship, the developing world has in fact been making steady progress for over two decades in health, education, income, and conflict reduction, along with democracy.

Growth, Security, and Democracy in Africa

October 2014

Democracy’s fortunes rose in Africa in the 1990s, but more recently have been in retreat. The forces of democratic resurgence remain in play, however, as a
look at the key case of Nigeria suggests.

India's Watershed Vote: What It Means for the Economy

October 2014

Modi promised “good days” to aspiring young Indians, and they voted for him in droves. But he is off to a slow start in carrying out the economic
reforms necessary to ensure that better days lie ahead. 

Oil, Politics, and Ghana’s Democracy

July 2012

Ghana has won praise for its steady progress toward democratic consolidation,  in late 2010 it joined the ranks of the world’s oil producers. Will the  democratic institutions be able to resist the “resource curse”?

Southeast Asia: Elites vs. Reform in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam

April 2012

Vietnam and its smaller neighbors Laos and Cambodia remain bastions of illiberalism and one-party rule despite rapid economic growth and falling poverty. What will it take to reform their elitist political cultures and curtail the use of public office for private ends?