2009. NCCR Democracy Working Paper No. 37, Zurich [»].
Studies on the diffusion of norms generally argue that strong ties between transition countries and established democracies decisively foster polit ical transformation. In doing so, they take for granted that agent attitudes and preferences are (re-)shaped by exposure to norms, but fail to empirically scrutinize this socializatio n effect. External democratization by linkage has so far only been explored at the aggregate level of states and on transition countries already moving ahead with democracy. This paper aims at filling this lacuna by examining whether linkage to ‘the West’ transfers democratic rules and practices into Arab authoritarian regimes hitherto resistant to political liberalization. It explores whether social and communication ties to established democracies can create important domestic stakeholders for democratic change by transforming state officials into democrats within a non-democratic polity. In order to directly examine attitudes rather than infer them from behavior, an original scale has been developed that measures the degree of agreem ent with democratic norms of governance. Empirically, the argument is tested on Morocco’s linkage to Europe using data from a unique survey among state officials. The results challenge the linkage models’ assumption that atti- tudes are shaped by exposure to norms.