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Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi: What makes democracies endure

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Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi. 1996. What makes democracies endure?. Journal of Democracy 7 (January): 39-55.

It seems to me that there study of parliamentarism and presidentialism is plagued by a (natural) selection bias. What is the counterfactual? The US presidential democracy is strong, as are the European parliamentary systems. Would we not expect the US to be equally strong with a parliamentary system (like Canada) or the Europeans just as strong with a presidential system? Something else is going on. The sample that nature gave the authors is strongly skewed, in that most of the strong industrial democracies chose parliamentarism, but probably would have fared just as well under presidentialism. But because most of the wealthy states (which, according to the authors, are therefore more likely to endure) chose parliamentarism, the authors' regressions continually show that parliamentary states are more durable. I would have liked to see them produce this result even when excluding developed countries from the data set.