An “Arab” More Than “Muslim” Democracy Gap

Issue Date July 2003
Volume 14
Issue 3
Page Numbers 30-44
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Re-examining the debate on Islam and democracy, the authors look at the relationship between competitive elections and levels of economic development in both Arab Muslim majority countries and non-Arab Muslim majority countries. While the performance gap in terms of electoral competition in Arab Muslim majority countries is widely recognized, less noticed is the fact that the non-Arab Muslim majority subset includes many “greatly over-achieving” countries, vis-à-vis contested elections. The authors demonstrate this using a combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence, and set out what this implies for Middle Eastern politics and the study of democracy and religion.

About the Authors

Alfred Stepan

Alfred Stepan is the founding director of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion (CDTR), and author (with Juan J. Linz) of Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe.

View all work by Alfred Stepan

Graeme B. Robertson

Graeme Robertson, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia (2011).

View all work by Graeme B. Robertson