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.