Governments devote significant effort and resources to promote democracy outside their borders, but surprisingly little is known about how to bring about a good return on this investment. The program entitled Evaluating International Influences on Democratic Development aims to fill this void by researching why democracy promotion sometimes works, but often does not. The program investigates the effects of international programs and the roles played by specific actors. It also examines how international conditions, such as the Cold War, change the ability of domestic actors to obtain democratization, and conversely, how domestic conditions, such as economic crises, change the prospects for democracy promotion by external actors.
We examine countries that democratize and also countries that fail to do so within four research modules: (1) democracies in transition, (2) changes in the quality of democracy; (3) liberalization in non-democratic regimes, and (4) post-conflict democratization. As the final product, we will provide a comprehensive evaluation of external influence that will be highly relevant to policy-makers and academic communities in donor and recipient countries.
CDDRL leads the program in cooperation with an international network of partners and with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation. With this research, CDDRL is constructing a global community of scholars and practitioners contending with the challenges of democracy promotion.