DISC Lecture Series: The Quality of Democracy: Conceptual Foundations and an Application to Post-communist Europe by Andrew Roberts

December 2, 2009 - 11:00 - 12:45
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Gellner Room
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Zsolt Enyedi
Andrew Roberts
CEU contact person: 
Vera Asenova
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Andrew Roberts’ research focuses on three major themes: the quality of democracy— defined as the nature and strength of links between citizens and policymakers—the politics of social policy reforms, and the workings of formal political institutions. Much of his work on these issues looks at the new democracies of Eastern Europe, which he frequently compares to established democracies in Western Europe and North America.


Much research on new democracies has focused on their purported low democratic quality. But there has not yet emerged a consensus on what democratic quality means or how to measure it. This lecture puts forward a new conception of democratic quality that is rooted in the idea of democracy as popular rule. It then procedes to apply this concept to the ten new EU members from postcommunist Europe. Its surprising finding is that democratic quality is relatively high in these countries; citizens do have the means to control their rulers. The lecture concludes by speculating about the causes of this relative success.



See also his recent book "The Quality of Democracy in Eastern Europe", Cambridge University Press, 2009.