Democratic Regime Sustainability and Group Interdependence


How do democratic institutions become self-enforcing and sustain in pluralistic societies? One body of literature on democratization explains the outcome by referring cultural determinants, another refers explicitly to social capital, and a third points to macro-economic indicators. This research relies on these explanations to show a more general explanation points to the level of interdependence among groups within society. Interdependence increases level of interaction among groups in a way that they prefer cooperation to conflict. Being interdependent implies that a person or groups recognizes that his, her, or their well-being is dependent on the well-being of others. This promotes outlooks and actions that seek positive-sum as opposed to zero-sum outcomes. Thus, this paper argues that sustainable institutions are conditional on the interdependence of societies. Explaining the role of interdependence on institutional sustainability seeks to help students of democratization understand the mechanism behind both cultural and economic explanations. This paper first suggests a survey-based proxy measure for interdependence and then tests causal mechanism between interdependence and institutional stability.