(with Nina Bandelj and Katleyn Finley)

In East European Politics, 2015, Vol 31(2), pp. 129-148


Ten years after European Union (EU) enlargement, democracy in the East European new member states is still a topic of discussion. This paper focuses on the initial years of democratisation in these countries, and asks what economic, political, and social processes explain its variation. Cross-sectional time series analysis (1990-2002) shows the impact of political orientation of ruling parties to reform, electoral institutions, size of ethnic minorities, and the extent of EU integration, but not economic development. Further, we disaggregate the effect of EU integration and find that early Europe Agreements signing has a more significant effect than the pre-accession membership negotiation stage.