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Democracy in Small StatesPersisting Against All Odds$
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Jack Corbett and Wouter Veenendaal

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198796718.001.0001

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Democratization and Institutional Design

Democratization and Institutional Design

(p.67) 4 Democratization and Institutional Design
Democracy in Small States

Jack Corbett

Wouter Veenendaal

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 interrogates the claim that colonialism and subsequent institutional design shaped the success and failure of democratization. We find that: 1)institutions designed for large states do not always work, or work as expected, in small ones; 2) that this has led to considerable reform and adaptation, especially in the Pacific; and 3) despite attempts to reform institutions, in many small states actors find it easier to circumvent them entirely. That is, the personalization of politics means institutional design and the notion of path dependence is of limited value when seeking to understand how democracy is practiced in small states. This propensity to sidestep or short circuit institutions can help explain why politics in small states is often very similar, despite variations in institutional design and colonial legacy.

Keywords:   democratization, colonialism, political institutions, personalization, small states, historical institutionalism, path-dependence, political reforms

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