Patterns of Democracy and Policy Performance in Central Eastern Europe

Our research project ‘Patterns of democracy and policy performance in Central Eastern Europe’ was launched in October 2003 and is funded by the German Research Society (DFG). The research project investigates the relation between patterns of democracy and policy performance in ten new democracies in Central Eastern Europe from 1989/90 until 2003. Our theoretical frame of reference is based on the renowned analysis by Arend Lijphart who stated that institutions matter for policy outcomes and that consensual democracies tend to produce “kinder and gentler” policy outcomes than majoritarian democracies. In our project, we investigate whether this also holds true for the new democracies in Central Eastern Europe. Through empirical research, we strive to explain the influence of patterns of democracy on the performance of political systems while taking into account the legacies as well as the international integration of Central and Eastern European countries. We thus complete the common ways of analyzing political performance of western countries with two research questions: ‘does history matter?’ and ‘does globalization matter?’. These are particularly important for Central and Eastern Europe. Methodologically, we conduct our research using the macro-quantitative aggregate data analysis. The following ten countries can be regarded as consolidated democracies and were not involved in violent conflict during the 1990s. They thus fulfil the criteria of the most similar systems design. They are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The project is co-directed with Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel from the University of Lüneburg.