Legislatures, Cooptation, and Protest in Contemporary Authoritarian Regimes
41 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
A central claim of the new literature on authoritarianism is that legislatures extend the lifespan of authoritarian regimes. However, there is little theoretical examination or empirical confirmation of the 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. We argue that legislative cooptation extends the longevity of authoritarian regimes by reducing anti-regime street protest. Legislatures reduce social protest by providing direct benefits to key opposition elites who demobilize their supporters and by drawing mobilizational resources into the political system and away from anti-system groups. We provide direct evidence for these mechanisms by examining legislative cooptation and social protest across Russia’s 83 regions.
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