Are wealthy countries wealthy because they are developed, or because they are democratic? This ODI Briefing investigates this key question, outlining how emerging democracies can deliver for developing countries – despite the messy, complex, and uncertain processes involved in their consolidation.
- While there is a strong relationship between high levels of wealth and established democracy, it is far less clear whether wealthy countries are wealthy because they are developed or because they are democratic.
- Nevertheless, most countries across the developing world today are formal, if highly imperfect, democracies – so the real question is no longer whether they can deliver, but how they can do so.
- The process of consolidating a democracy is messy, complex, and uncertain, and miracles should not be expected overnight. Engaging with emerging democracies more effectively is, therefore, the new frontier of the developmental challenge.
- More effective engagement calls for flexible and adaptable approaches that are grounded in contextual realities. This requires strategic patience and a pragmatic, incremental perspective to institutional reform that is more tolerant of risks and setbacks.
In the July edition of the ODI podcast Alina Rocha Menocal explored what global protests in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, among others, can tell us about democracy and elections.
Ten things to know about democracy and elections - an infographic
This infographic cuts through the complexity and presents ten key facts on elections and democracy.