The Latent Characteristics That Structure Autocratic Rule

54 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014  

Joseph Wright

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science

James Honaker

Pennsylvania State University

Barbara Geddes

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Research on autocratic regimes in comparative politics and international relations has burgeoned in the past two decades, and often uses categorical typologies of autocratic regimes to distinguish among different types of dictatorships. Building on advances in methods for estimating the latent dimensions of democracy, this paper uses historical data on 30 features of autocracies to estimate the latent dimensions of autocratic rule. We identify three time-varying dimensions of autocracy that correspond to the ideal types proposed in the authoritarian literature: party dominance, military rule, and personalism. We show that the dimensions of autocratic rule are orthogonal to commonly-used measures of democracy-autocracy; compare these dimensions to existing typologies of autocratic regimes; and propose how this information can be structured as clusters. We show that while party dominance and military rule can be measured using existing data sets, the new time-varying measure of personalism is unique.

Keywords: authoritarian rule, personalist regimes, latent dimensions

Suggested Citation

Wright, Joseph and Honaker, James and Geddes, Barbara, The Latent Characteristics That Structure Autocratic Rule (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2451510

Joseph Wright (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

133 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802-2800
United States

James Honaker

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Barbara Geddes

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

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