The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of geography on the transition process in authoritarian political regimes, and to investigate the nature of the links between political change, economic reforms and geographic location. A simple model of transition and democratization is presented wherein we show that the effectiveness of repression by the incumbent elite is a negative function of the distance to the free world. In consequence, there are conflicting effects of geography on political power shifting. The paper provides a rationale for the counterintuitive fact that the first authoritarian country to start a transition process towards democratization is not necessarily the one nearest to the free world.
conflicts democratization elites geography repression transition process