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Student Research Projects

Eastern Europe v. Asian Tigers: Does Freedom of Speech Promote or Threaten Political Stability?

Student Evan Rodway
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Laura Landolt
Department Political Science
Course POLS 499: Senior Seminar

Abstract

As Asia and Eastern Europe continue their unparalleled economic growth , these once poverty-stricken, non-democratic states are transforming into middle or even high income states that are becoming more and more democratic in nature. The Asian Tigers and post-communist East Europeans took different routes to democratization than did western industrialized nations. Asian nations focused on economics under an authoritarian system before gradually granting civil liberties, mainly freedom of the press to their citizens. By contrast, the Eastern Europeans granted civil liberties to their citizens, mainly freedom of speech and press, before they pursued economic growth. This paper seeks to discover which model of democratization creates greater domestic political stability. I hypothesize that granting civil liberties first facilitates a more stable democracy.

 

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