Debate: A Quiet Consensus

Issue Date October 2022
Volume 33
Issue 4
Page Numbers 169–75
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The respondents to our essay generally agree with us about the endurance of wealthy democracies, but they pose three chief objections: 1) the results reported may be unreliable because our study failed to distinguish breakdowns of less impact from categorical shifts in which autocracy displaces democracy, 2) claims of recent democratic survival are premature because the erosive effects of democratic backsliding are gathering beneath the surface, and 3) even if democratic breakdown remains unlikely in economically developed states, we underestimated the threat that backsliding itself poses to human rights. These points do not shake the essay’s basic conclusions, but they prompted valuable extensions. The challenge ahead is to protect democracies genuinely in peril, while not losing valuable time and resources chasing authoritarian ghosts.

About the Authors

Jason Brownlee

Jason Brownlee is professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin, and the author of Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization (2007).

View all work by Jason Brownlee

Kenny Miao

Kenny Miao is a doctoral candidate in government at the University of Texas, Austin.

View all work by Kenny Miao

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