Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Charles Hankla

Second Advisor

Carrie Manning

Third Advisor

Michael Herb


This dissertation investigates the effect of state capacity on the probability for democratic transition and the survival of democracies. I seek to answer these quesitons through the use of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. In my statistical models, I make use of Cox Proportional Hazard Models. These are supplemented by two case studies involving South Korea and the Philippines. My expectation, which is supported by the results presented in this study, is that higher levels of state capacity will make authoritarian regimes more stable and thus make democratic transitions less likely, but if democratic transitions take place, higher levels of state capacity will make new democratic regimes more likely to survive.