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From Evaluating Democracy Assistance to Appraising Democracy Promotion

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  • Peter Burnell

Abstract

Organisations involved in delivering international democracy assistance are engaging increasingly with questions about how to assess their activities. A double shift in the terms of reference, from the ex post evaluation of assistance projects or programmes to ex ante appraisal of the broader democracy promotion strategies, could make democracy promotion more effective. This does not mean abandoning the former; on the contrary its status would be enhanced. Improving the chain of learning that leads from assistance evaluations to the formulation of promotion strategies could improve decision‐making over how and whether to promote democracy abroad. Because strategies for democracy promotion are constitutive of the political relationship with countries, different strategies have different implications for the possibilities of political self‐determination. For that reason and because democratisation and hence effective democracy promotion may be beneficial for human development, international peace and national security, strategies that reflect informed appraisal would be an improvement on a defective status quo. The challenges include: more systematic data gathering; innovative ways of comparing the various democracy promotion options; and institutional changes that connect the research findings to the high politics of policy‐making.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Burnell, 2008. "From Evaluating Democracy Assistance to Appraising Democracy Promotion," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56(2), pages 414-434, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:polstu:v:56:y:2008:i:2:p:414-434
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2007.00653.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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