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On democratic and demographic transition

Dyson, Tim (2013) On democratic and demographic transition. Population and Development Review, 38 (1). pp. 83-102. ISSN 0098-7921

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Abstract

This essay considers the implications of the demographic transition for the emergence of modern democracy. Although the idea of representative democracy was present in Europe and North America in the late eighteenth century, here I am concerned with its realization—and this occurs much later. I argue that consideration of the demographic transition in western countries sheds light on what is sometimes called the “democratic transition.” Indeed, I believe that few aspects of socioeconomic development were more closely associated with the appearance of democracy than was progress with respect to the demographic transition. The relationship between the demographic and democratic transitions has been largely overlooked. One recalls Paul Demeny’s still highly apposite observation — made in a paper now almost half a century old—regarding the extraordinary degree of neglect, shown by historians and other social scientists, of the consequences of the demographic transition. Also germane are his remark that study of history can provide valuable insight into forces that are still at work, and his reflection on the non-autochthonous character of many of the development processes that are affecting developing countries (see Demeny 1968: 502–504). After providing background on previous research, the essay 1) discusses why a population’s progress through the demographic transition might be expected to promote a movement to democratic politics; 2) considers issues of measurement in relation to both the demographic transition and democracy; 3) examines the emergence of democracy with particular reference to Europe; and 4) appraises the potential relevance of my argument to contemporary international conditions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.popcouncil.org/publications/pdr.asp
Additional Information: © 2013 The Population Council, Inc.
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Departments > Social Policy
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2013 16:21
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/45833/

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