Conceptual Advances in the Study of Electoral Authoritaianism – Disaggregating Hegemony and Competitiness and an African Application
31 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 11 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
Increasing attention has been given to differences in electoral authoritarian outcomes, often noted as the distinction between competitive and hegemonic electoral authoritarianism. These distinctions appear to be of crucial theoretical importance, but are often unclear and under conceptualized. How are we to understand the variety of electoral authoritarian experience? Do our current conceptual tools match the empirical realities of current authoritarianism? This paper provides a new conceptualization of electoral authoritarian regimes based on two central factors. It first classifies regimes by separating electoral authoritarianism into the two dimensions of competitiveness and hegemony. The former refers to the capacity of voters to actually translate their preferences into electoral outcomes while the latter refers to the capacity of incumbents to dominate electoral outcomes. Second, it looks at electoral periods rather than simply classifying elections. The paper develops some preliminary operationalization and measurement and offers some initial empirical insights from the sub-Saharan African context into the variety of electoral authoritarianism and the impact of repeated elections upon regimes.
Keywords: Electoral Authoritarianism, Concept Formation, Sub-Saharan Africa
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