This article bridges the gap in studies of the social bases of democratization between qualitative studies focused on social groups and quantitative studies focused on national characteristics. Qualitative historical evidence suggests the importance of classes - in particular, the emerging class of intellectuals-in the wave of democratizations in the decade before World War I. Quantitative cross-national data on a more recent wave of democratizations, from 1989 to 1996, confirm these findings. Models using direct maximum-likelihood estimation find that the ratio of adults with higher education has a significant positive effect on change in democracy levels, as measured by two longitudinal scales (Polity IV and Polyarchy). Proxies for the working class and the middle class - candidates proposed in previous studies as the social basis of democratization - also have significant effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science