Legislatures, Cooptation, and Social Protest in Contemporary Authoritarian Regimes

36 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013 Last revised: 18 Aug 2014

See all articles by Ora John Reuter

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: July 18, 2013

Abstract

A central claim of the new literature on authoritarianism is that legislatures extend the lifespan of authoritarian regimes. However, there are a wide range of possible mechanisms that might underpin this relationship. In this paper, we contribute both to the theory and the empirics of legislative cooptation under authoritarianism by exploring one such mechanism. We argue that legislative cooptation extends the longevity of authoritarian regimes by reducing anti-regime street protest. Legislatures reduce social protest by providing rent-seeking opportunities to key opposition elites who, in return, demobilize their supporters. Legislatures may also reduce protest by drawing mobilizational resources into the political system and away from anti-system groups. Using new data from 83 Russian regional legislatures, we look at how variation in the distribution of legislative leadership positions to opposition groups affects levels of opposition street protest.

Keywords: Authoritarianism, Protest, Institutions, Legislatures, Russia, Opposition

Suggested Citation

Reuter, Ora John and Robertson, Graeme, Legislatures, Cooptation, and Social Protest in Contemporary Authoritarian Regimes (July 18, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295352 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2295352

Ora John Reuter (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
NC 27514

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