Governing Countries: A Theory of Subnational Regime Variation

Posted: 31 Mar 2016 Last revised: 13 Oct 2017

See all articles by Kelly M. McMann

Kelly M. McMann

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Political Science; Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute

John Gerring

University of Texas at Austin

Matthew Maguire

San José State University

Michael Coppedge

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute; University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

Studies of a small number of countries have revealed that both democratic and non-democratic subnational governments can exist within a single country. However, these works have neither demonstrated how common subnational regime variation is nor explained why some countries are more prone to it. This paper does both. Using Varieties of Democracy subnational data for countries of the world from 1900 to 2012, we show that subnational regime variation exists throughout all regions, in both unitary and federal states, and in both the present and past. The paper also demonstrates theoretically and empirically how social heterogeneity and factors undermining the national government’s ability to broadcast power promote this variation. Specifically, subnational regime variation is more common in countries that are ethnically and economically diverse, rugged, and populous. These measures, our theory, and the benchmark models we developed will spur new research in regime types and change.

Suggested Citation

McMann, Kelly M. and Gerring, John and Maguire, Matthew and Coppedge, Michael and Lindberg, Staffan I., Governing Countries: A Theory of Subnational Regime Variation (March 1, 2016). V-Dem Working Paper 2016:28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2756328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2756328

Kelly M. McMann (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Political Science ( email )

11201 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute ( email )

United States

John Gerring

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Matthew Maguire

San José State University ( email )

San José, CA
United States

Michael Coppedge

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute ( email )

Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

216 Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN New South Wales 46556-5646
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nd.edu/~mcoppedg/crd

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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