Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

David Samuels ─ Inequality and Democratization: An Elite-Competition Approach

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

4 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Research on the economic origins of democracy and dictatorship has shifted away from the impact of growth and turned toward the question of how different patterns of growth - equal or unequal - shape regime change. This book offers a new theory of the historical relationship between economic modernization and the emergence of democracy on a global scale, focusing on the effects of land and income inequality. Contrary to most mainstream arguments, we suggest that democracy is more likely to emerge when rising, yet politically disenfranchised, groups demand more influence because they have more to lose, rather than when threats of redistribution are low.

Development and Governance Seminar

David Samuels is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1998. His research and teaching interests include Brazilian and Latin American politics, US-Latin American relations, and democratization.

He is the author of Presidents, Parties, and Prime Ministers (with Matthew Shugart) (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Ambition, Federalism, and Legislative Politics in Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and the co-editor of Decentralization and Democracy in Latin America (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). His introductory undergraduate comparative politics textbook, Comparative Politics and country-casebook Case Studies in Comparative Politics, are available from Pearson Higher Education. He is currently working on a book project entitled "Inequality and Democratization."

Professor Samuels has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and the British Journal of Political Science, among others. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation (in 1996 and 1999) and the McKnight Foundation (in 2001), and was awarded Fulbright Fellowships in 2004 and 2013. He currently serves as co-editor of Comparative Political Studies.