If they build it will it take root? : applying lessons of colonial legacy to polity imposition.
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In this project, I explore whether imposed, liberal institutions installed by a colonial power affect the persistence of democracies in the postcolonial period. If a state imposes democratic institutions within another state will the imposed polity persist? To answer that question, I examine the impact of imposed liberal institutions and the citizenry’s interaction with those institutions on democratic survival of the polity after independence. To test hypotheses regarding the imposition of liberal institutions and democratic survival, I employ duration analysis. In this project I introduce the concept of liberal steps which allows for modelling of the iterative expansion of liberal rights in polities. Using sequence analysis, a relatively new method to political science, to investigate the process of the installation of liberal steps in colonies and the effect of those steps on post-independence democracy. I find imposed liberal institutions contribute to the longevity of democracy in polities after independence. Each liberal step significantly enhances the likelihood of democratic survival of the polity. Using sequence analysis, I reveal two patterns of successful democracies those where institutions took root quickly and those which had many years of interaction with liberal institutions. Overall, my results indicate external impositions will be successful experiences and interactions with liberal instituions. Although built by imposers, the institutions must be adopted by the citizenry as they are seen as legitimate and able to channel political interests.