Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Ziegler Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Zining Yang

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Simon Tang


Comparative Politics, Democratic Development, Less Developed Countries, Political Economy, Small & Medium Enterprises, Statistical Analysis

Subject Categories

International Relations | Political Science


This paper focuses on different national economic development structures, such as microsmall-medium-enterprises (MSMEs) vs. big or state-owned enterprises and their relations with political development. A well-established literature argues that MSMEs are conducive to economic growth. Existing literature does not tell us much about the relationship between MSMEs and democracy. This dissertation examines the relationship between economic development structure and democracy. I demonstrate that we observe a negative correlation between high concentration of MSMEs and political development in the early stages of a country’s economic development (pre-takeoff or takeoff states stages), ceteris paribus. I provide a theoretical framework and causal mechanism that link MSMEs to limited political development due to collective action problems in a decentralized economy. This collection action problem encourages corrupt transactions between MSMEs and government officials that undermine prospects for functioning democracy. I use extensive quantitative analysis and detailed case studies to explain the mechanisms whereby MSME’s appear inimical to democratic governance, and under what conditions MSMEs may advance democratic decision-making.