Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Politics and Government: Political Science
Why are some states able to democratize while others are not? This thesis examines the connection between state capacity and democratization utilizing a case study of Egypt and a controlled comparison with Tunisia. Via process tracing, I determine that Egypt has a deeply institutionalized, strong coercive state capacity and a weak administrative capacity. These iterations of state capacity developed during Egyptian state formation from 1805-1840 and were further institutionalized at two critical junctures: early British occupation from 1883-1907, and Nasser’s presidency from 1952-1967. Path dependency makes successful democratization unlikely because of the significant legacy left in Egypt during these critical junctures. The coercive apparatus benefits from authoritarianism and sees democracy as a threat to its immense political and economic power and influence. Due to lacking administrative capacity, bureaucratic workforce that could challenge the coercive institutions for state control is either corrupt, underprepared to overcome coercive institutions, or a combination of both. I illustrate these microprocesses through an analysis of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and the eventual coup that ended Egypt’s democratic experiment in 2013.
Johnson, Ashley Elizabeth, "The Historical Evolution of State Capacity and Its Effect on Democratization: a Case Study of Egypt" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 1750.