Informational democracy promotion? Electronic grey literature and democratization

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The promotion of democracy has long been a cornerstone of states’ foreign policy and the work of international organisations. The online diffusion of grey literature on ‘best practice’ by the international community has been one method for democracy promotion, which has been overlooked by the literature on democratisation and international organisations, however. This article provides a heuristic model for understanding the diffusion pathways, accelerants and barriers to use for this democracy promotion method. This is constructed using the analysis of original data about the nature, volume and direction of downloads from a major democracy promotion IGO from 2006-2017 alongside the process tracing of the impact of one key publication. The analysis suggests that the resources were more likely to be used by electoral management bodies lacking capacity as well as universities worldwide with less educational/research resources. Internet access was a barrier to diffusion. The use of the materials in the policy process is found to be dependent on actors strategically using them during decision-making policy windows. This notwithstanding, the production of grey literature provides a useful tool for democracy promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalTaiwan Journal of Democracy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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