Research Handbook on Democracy and Development
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Research Handbook on Democracy and Development

Edited by Gordon Crawford and Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai

Exploring and updating the controversial debates about the relationship between democracy and development, this Research Handbook provides clarification on the complex and nuanced interlinkages between political regime type and socio-economic development. Distinguished scholars examine a broad range of issues from multidisciplinary perspectives across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
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Chapter 14: Democracy, development and Islam

Michael T. Rock and Soli Ozel


Conventional wisdom suggests Islam, authoritarianism and underdevelopment go together. A panel data set tests these hypotheses and finds little empirical support for either hypothesis, although Arab Muslim countries are less democratic and grow slower than their non-Arab Muslim counterparts. An elite consensus-conflict analytical frame is used to uncover the sources of difference in democracy and development outcomes in Egypt and Indonesia, two similarly placed Muslim countries with different democracy and development outcomes. We find growth and democracy differences are the result of differences in elite cooperation on democracy and development projects. When elites are consensually united, as in Indonesia, democracy and development can go hand in hand. When elites are virtually at war with each other, as in Egypt, cooperation on a democracy project becomes almost impossible. Unfortunately, high levels of elite conflict, as in Egypt, can also spillover into state building and development strategy with disastrous consequences for development.

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