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PO33Q-15 Determinants of Democracy: Analysing Emergence, Survival, and Fall

Politics & International Studies
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Florian Reiche
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Never before has the world witnessed such a high proportion of democracies. But what makes them emerge? How do democracies sustain themselves? What makes some countries such persistent dictatorships? These questions have attracted a huge body of literature in Comparative Politics and make for fascinating empirical research projects. This module will provide you with the statistical tools necessary for such investigations, and thus allow you not only to interpret and critique existing studies in this field, but also to research these questions yourself. With no prior knowledge in statistical analysis necessary, we will use real world data sets and explore the aforementioned questions through the methods of linear and logistic regression, as well as survival analysis. The assessment will be conducted in the form of a research project. The module will be taught in a 2h combined lecture / seminar slot.

Module web page

Module aims
  • Introduce students to different theories of democratisation
  • Provide an introduction to the application and interpretation of the most commonly used quantitative methods in democratisation studies
  • Introduce students to the analysis of time-series, cross-sectional (TSCS) data
  • Allow students to apply quantitative methods to substantive questions of democratisation studies
  • Introduce students to the research process
  • Provide students with introductory to intermediate data management and analysis skills in R
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

  1. Introduction to the Module, The Comparative Method, and Quantitative Methods
  2. Democratisation – Socio-Economic Explanations 1
  3. Democracy – Tertium non datur
  4. Democratisation – Socio-Economic Explanations 2
  5. Democratisation – Cultural and Behaviouralist Explanations
  7. Democratic Survival
  8. Exogenous Democratisation
  9. Autocratic Survival
  10. Research Symposium
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the stages of the research labyrinth
  • Conduct research independently
  • Analyse time series, cross sectional data
  • Apply the comparative method
  • Understand different theories of democratisation
  • Understand factors of autocratic survival
  • Apply and interpret linear regression in R
  • Apply and interpret categorical dependent variable models in R
  • Apply and interpret Markov Transition Models in R
  • Replicate results of existing studies of democratisation
  • Introductory to intermediate data management and analysis skills in R
Indicative reading list
  • Beck, Nathaniel, Jonathan N. Katz and Richard Tucker. 1998. “Taking Time Seriously: Time-Series-Cross-Section Analysis with a Binary Dependent Variable.” American Journal of Political Science 42(4):1260–1288.
  • Brambor, Thomas, William Roberts Clark and Matt Golder. 2006. “Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analysis.” Political Analysis 14:62–83.
  • Brians, Craig L., Lars Wilnat, Jarol B. Manheim and Richard C. Rich. 2010. Empirical Political Analysis. Pearson
  • Bryman, A. 2008. Social Research Methods, 4th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Clark, Robert. 2012. “World-system position and democracy, 1972-2008.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 53(5-6):367–399.
  • Clark, William Roberts; Golder, M.R.; Nadenichek Golder, S. 2017 Principles of Comparative Politics. Sage
  • Dalgaard, P. (2008) Introductory Statistics with R (Statistics and Computing). Springer
  • Elkins, Zachary S. 2000. “Gradations of Democracy. Empirical Tests of Alternative Conceptualizations.” American Journal of Political Science 44(2):287–294.
  • Epstein, David L., Robert Bates, Jack Goldstone, Ida Kristensen and Sharyn O’Halloran. 2006. “Democratic Transitions.” American Journal of Political Science 50(3):551–569.
  • Field, A. et al. (2012) Discovering Statistics with R. Sage
  • Fogarty, B. (2018) Quantitative Social Science Data with R: An Introduction. Sage
  • Gandhi, Jennifer and Adam Przeworski. 2007. “Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrats.” Comparative Political Studies 40(11):1279–1301.
  • Gill, Jeff. 2006. Essential Mathematics for Political and Social Research, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Grolemund, G. and Wickham, H. (2016) R for Data Science. O'Reilly Media
  • Gujarati, Damodar; Porter, D. 2009. Basic Econometrics. 5th edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill
  • Landman, Todd and Carvalho E. 2014. Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics: An Introduction. Third ed. London: Routledge.
  • Inglehart, Ronald; Welzel, C. 2005. Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Long, J. Scott. 1997. Regression Models for Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Mainwaring, Scott and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán. 2013. Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America – Emergence, Survival, and Fall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Munck, Gerardo L. and Jay Verkuilen. 2002. “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democ- racy: Evaluating Alternative Indices.” Comparative Political Studies 35(5):5–34.
  • Przeworski, Adam, Michael E. Alvarez, José A. Cheibub and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development - Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reiche, Florian (forthcoming) Introduction to Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Stinerock, R. (2018) Statistics with R. Sage
  • Studenmund, A.H. 2013. Using Econometrics: A Practical Guide. 6th edition. Pearson
  • Walliman, Nicholas. 2010. Research Methods: The Basics. Routledge

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

Assessment (formative and summative) in form of a research project.


Focus is on democratisation (and its differences) across the globe.

Subject specific skills
  • Knowledge in theories of democratisation
  • The Comparative Method
  • Data management and analysis skills in R
  • Linear Regression Analysis
  • Binary Response Models
  • Markov Transition Models
Transferable skills
  • The ability to conduct independent, quantitative research
  • The ability to apply the methods and techniques you have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects
  • The transferable skills necessary for employment related to Politics and International Studies: lateral thinking; problem solving; detailed critical analysis and interpretation of a variety of primary and secondary sources; the ability to digest, retain and apply complex information and ideas; skills in research, independent study, group discussion, and in oral and written presentation; the ability to consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking
  • The skills necessary for the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility: e.g. the ability to assess your own capacity for progress in learning; the ability to organise your work and manage your time successfully; the ability to meet deadlines; the ability to reflect critically on the extent and limitations of how and what you have learned, discovered and understood
  • The ability to deploy decision-making skills in complex and unpredictable situations
  • Skills in the communication of information, ideas, problems and solutions in a variety of ways to a variety of audiences

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Private study 132 hours (88%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Independent and guided reading, completion of homework (worksheets), completion of formative assessment.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Research Project 100%
Feedback on assessment

Detailed and regular feedback will be provided throughout the module.

Verbal feedback on work in seminars will be provided by the module director throughout all sessions. In addition, student participation will be strongly encouraged which will include students giving each other feedback during classes. Peer feedback will be particularly encouraged during the research symposium in week 10. Students also have the opportunity to discuss their individual research projects with the module convenor in advice and feedback hours. Written feedback on the research proposal (formative assessment) in week 5 will be provided.

Detailed written feedback will be provided on the summative assessment.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 4 of UPOA-M167 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods (with Intercalated Year)

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 4 of UPOA-M163 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and French
  • Year 4 of UPOA-M164 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and German

This module is Option list D for:

  • UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
  • Year 4 of UHIA-VM12 Undergraduate History and Politics (with Year Abroad)