The institutions, economic development and democratization of Turkey
The economic perspective on the history of democratization is largely based on exploring the bargaining processes of the elite and other citizens on the basis of their economic power and interests. This issue Microscope analyzes this ‘economics-based’ conceptualization and discusses the implications in the Turkish case, acknowledging the fact that individual economic incentives are highly influential in determining individual political attitudes Of key importance in this “economics-based” conceptualization are institutional performance, economic development and democratization. Accordingly, Microscope focuses on political economic datasets such as the Human Development Index (HDI), the Polity IV Project and Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) figures are used to infer relevant conclusions about those concepts.
The relationship between economic wellbeing and democracy has been examined on the basis of the strength of political and economic institutions by the thinkers of institutional economics. The forefathers of this particular branch of economics proposed four fundamental components of a political model that induces a healthy environment for economic institutions:
• An institutional matrix with a set of organizations and certain rights and privileges
• A stable structure of exchange relationships for political and economic markets
• A consistent structure that commits the state to producing political rules in favor of protecting organizations and exchange relationships
• Conformity, with some mixture of norm internalization and coercive enforcement
According to this strand of economic thought, the economic development of a particular nation and/or state is highly contingent upon a stable set of political institutions that provide reliable procedures for economic institutions to emerge and spread. Hence, a more liberal environment in politics is considered the engine of economic growth and development as a consequence of incentivized individuals in the economic market.
In a similar vein, many political and economic thinkers discuss the factors that influence democratic systems and check those ideas with empirical research conducted at the international level. For some of them, prosperity stimulates democracy thanks to educational attainment and an expanded middle class, as well as private organizations’ ability to limit the power of centralized governments. To a different group of researchers, good government is motivated by people’s inclination toward civic activity alongside the advancement of a capitalist system, under which the power of landlords is weakened while the power of the working and middle classes is heightened.
In their book “Why Nations Fail,” Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson enrich the recent literature on the economic dynamics of democratic systems, focusing