Jorgen G. Bro

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


This research explores the change in democracy in less developed countries, during the Third Wave of Democratization, in light of modernization and world-system theories. Variables of both theories are combined into one model. Modernization theory regards variables such as foreign investment and foreign aid as having a positive effect on economic development, which, in tum, affects democratic development positively via education and/or income inequality. World-system theory sees world-system position as the main determinant of a country's chance to develop democracy. The world division of labor is reinforced by dependency (investment and aid) and state strength, which then influence a country's chance for democratic development via economic development and/or income inequality. The research design employed is a cross-sectional path analysis, which utilizes data at 1980 for the independent variables, and data at 1974 and 1999 for the dependent variable. The results indicate that both modernization and world-system variables are important in explaining change in democracy. Education is the only variable with a significant direct impact on change in democracy. Education is strongly influenced by economic development, which, in tum, is positively affected by investment and state strength~ but negatively by foreign aid. World-system position has a direct positive effect on economic development, investment, and state strength, while a negative impact on foreign aid. It is concluded that more positive change in democracy has occurred in the semi- periphery than in the periphery, because semi-peripheral countries have stronger states and have experienced higher degrees of investment, which have led to economic development, and thereby resulted in more educated citizens. The obstacle for peripheral countries is their export-oriented economy and their dependence on foreign aid, which retards development of structural differentiation and economic diversification.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Democratization -- Developing countries Democracy Political development Economic development



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University