How does democracy develop throughout a country once leaders in the national capital introduce or expand civil liberties and hold competitive elections—in other words, after democratic transition? The subnational democracy literature has shown that non-democratic subnational political regimes can endure within countries even after democratic transition. Yet, the democratic consolidation literature has not addressed how these enclaves are eliminated throughout the country or the territorial consolidation of democracy. This paper offers an explanation for the territorial consolidation of democracy. We argue that greater corruption control, a shift toward a unitary system of government, and a move toward centralized candidate selection promote territorial consolidation. Statistical analyses using V-Dem data, which cover 182 countries from 1900 to 2017, provide support for our argument.
Kelly McMann and Matthew Maguire. "Democratic Consolidation: A Theory of Territorial Consolidation" University of Gothenburg, Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 74 (2018).