Perspectives on human development theory in democracy promotion: A comparison of democracy promotion programmes in Egypt through the lenses of classical and revised modernisation theory

Inger Karin Moen Dyrnes


This paper argues that the concept of socio-economic development needs to be redefined for the purpose of effective democracy promotion. By including aspects from human development theory, advocates of revised modernisation theory state that mass values in a society shift towards a preferance for democracy as higher levels socio-economic development provide existential security. This implies that a democratic culture shapes its institutions and not the other way around. If donor countries are willing to make long-term investments in human resources rather than focus on short-term improvements of state institutions, effective democracy may stand a better chance of developing.

JEL classification: O15, F59

Keywords: democracy, democratisation, human development theory, modernisation, socio-economic development, foreign development aid, USAID, Egypt, the Middle East, the Arab world, foreign policy, international relations, good governance, civil society, institutional development, economic policy, judicial reform, civic education