Theories of Democratic Backsliding

38 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2023

See all articles by Edoardo Grillo

Edoardo Grillo

University of Padova, Department of Economics and Management

Zhaotian Luo

University of Chicago, Department of Political Science

Monika Nalepa

The University of Chicago

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 22, 2023

Abstract

We review recent contributions to the modeling of democratic backsliding. We organize existing theories according to (1) the source of constraints on the executive (vertical or horizontal restrainers), and (2) the target of backsliding (electoral manipulation or aggrandizement), and then use them as scaffolding for a meta-model of democratic backsliding. This meta-model allows us to describe and compare the premises and insights of this scholarship. We further apply our 2-dimensional classification to over thirty empirical papers and we show how theoretical assumptions can guide research design by clearly highlighting the scope conditions of different theories of backsliding. We conclude the review by highlighting open issues for future research.

Keywords: Democratic backsliding, Formal theory, Constraints on the executive, Electoral manipulation

JEL Classification: H10, H11, C72, C73

Suggested Citation

Grillo, Edoardo and Luo, Zhaotian and Nalepa, Monika and Prato, Carlo, Theories of Democratic Backsliding (October 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4612396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4612396

Edoardo Grillo

University of Padova, Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Via del Santo 33
Padova, Vicenza 2-35122
Italy

Zhaotian Luo (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Department of Political Science ( email )

5825 S University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Monika Nalepa

The University of Chicago ( email )

517 Pick Hall
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

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