Advocates of economic globalization regularly argue that it encourages development, economic growth, structural democracy, and civil liberties. This paper quantitatively analyzes the ties between economic globalization and structural democracy. In exploring the connection, this study focuses on economic globalization as an end in itself, not as a means to development or economic growth.
In this analysis, structural democracy refers to a government with checks on its power and accountability via free, fair, and open elections. This definition intentionally excludes most concerns regarding civil rights, equal treatment of minorities, human rights abuses by the government, and good governance practices. The measure of economic globalization is more straightforward: it is the degree to which a nation is integrated into the world economy. Statistics on regulations and trade level of goods, services, and capital serve as the operational definition of the level of integration.
For dependent variables, this paper uses indicators from several already established and respected sources that include both overall descriptors and data on specific components of structural democracy. This allows statistical analysis to go beyond overall linkages to explore ties between specific components of economic globalization and structural democracy. The prevalence of established research means that the sample for this experiment is composed of annual data over multiple decades from more than a hundred countries.
The preliminary cross-national analysis of five year averaged groupings indicates a weak and largely negative correlation between economic globalization and democracy with development and economic growth as controls. A second study stage will use panel statistical methods, as well as refining the use of control variables. The panel techniques allow data from multiple years and countries to be analyzed simultaneously. Should these preliminary be confirmed, the paper will analyze whether these conclusions are consistent with the explanations given by opponents of globalization or if a new theory to explain the connection is needed.