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Iain McMenamin
Is there an East-Central European variety of democratic capitalism? A twenty-two country cluster analysis
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The identification of the sub-types of capitalist democracy has been one of the great projects of political science. The issue of the distinctiveness of East-Central European models of capitalist democracy is implicit in much of the literature on this region. Existing studies are based on samples of countries and choices of variables which are too narrow to provide a plausible assessment of the distinctiveness of East-Central Europe. This article compares twenty-two capitalist democracies, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, across fifty-two measures of political institutions, social welfare regimes and economic structures. The data is analysed by cluster analysis. While the cluster analysis cannot tell us how many varieties of democratic capitalism there are, it provides a consistent clustering of countries. If there are six or more varieties of democratic capitalism, the East-Central European cases form a cluster on their own. If there are three or four varieties, they cluster with Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. If there are only two varieties, East-Central Europe is clearly associated with the continental European, as opposed to the liberal, model.
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