Yi-Tzu Lin (Jerry) successfully defended his dissertation, Liberalization First, Democratization Later: The Linkage between Income Inequality, Economic Development, and Democratization, on October 15, 2020. His dissertation proposes a two-stage process of democratization to modify major democratization theories, which argues that countries may experience the increase of political liberalization before democratization. In the first stage, income inequality is associated with different types of political liberalization, but it is contingent with levels of wealth. In the second stage, political liberalization is associated with democratization. This two-stage process of democratization successfully bridges the gap between income inequality, economic development, and democratization, which provides a better picture understanding the progress of democratization.
The committee members were John Hsieh (chair, Professor of political science), Anu Chakravarty (Associate Professor of political science), T.J. Cheng (Professor of Government, College of William and Mary), Robert Cox (Professor of political science) and David Darmofal (Associate Professor of political science)