Steam Valve or Accelerant? Elections and Contention in Authoritarian Regimes
Posted: 30 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 29, 2014
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: Suggested Citation