Steam Valve or Accelerant? Elections and Contention in Authoritarian Regimes

Posted: 30 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 29, 2014

Abstract

Why are some elections marked by civil unrest and others not? This paper sheds light on how national elections in various types of authoritarian systems influence the potential for domestic political contention. The appropriation of the ballot in dictatorships serves many functions for regime preservation, but elections are politicizing events that involve significant risks as well. I use cross-national time-series analysis of all elections in authoritarian regimes from 1950 to 2012 to analyze the election-contention relationship across non-democratic regimes. The analysis highlights the importance of electoral competitiveness, as well as the need to disaggregate election type (executive and legislative) and authoritarian regime type.

Keywords: authoritarianism, elections, political unrest, contentious politics, electoral authoritarianism

Suggested Citation

Spath, Andrew, Steam Valve or Accelerant? Elections and Contention in Authoritarian Regimes (January 29, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2387404

Andrew Spath (Contact Author)

Rutgers University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://andrewspath.com

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