Democracy, Economic Crisis, and Market Oriented Reforms

In: Comparative Sociology


In this paper I analyze the nexus between economic crises, market oriented reforms, and democratization in Indonesia and Korea since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis. I provide some support for the hypothesis that democracies are better able to survive economic crises than authoritarian regimes. In both countries democratization facilitated a crisis resolution strategy based on market oriented reforms. However, I assert that in the long run the social consequences of market-oriented reforms tend to undermine democratization partly because both are so closely linked and the majority of the population sees them as one. This process does not necessarily destroy democracies but it leaves them more vulnerable to possible external shocks in the future.

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