Competitive authoritarian regimes - in which autocrats submit to meaningful multiparty elections but engage in serious democratic abuse - proliferated in the post-Cold War era. Based on a detailed study of 35 cases in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and post-communist Eurasia, this book explores the fate of competitive authoritarian regimes between 1990 and 2008. It finds that where social, economic, and technocratic ties to the West were extensive, as in Eastern Europe and the Americas, the external cost of abuse led incumbents to cede power rather than crack down, which led to democratization. Where ties to the West were limited, external democratizing pressure was weaker and countries rarely democratized. In these cases, regime outcomes hinged on the character of state and ruling party organizations. Where incumbents possessed developed and cohesive coercive party structures, they could thwart opposition challenges, and competitive authoritarian regimes survived; where incumbents lacked such organizational tools, regimes were unstable but rarely democratized.
About the Author
Steven Levitsky is Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research interests include political parties, political regimes, and informal institutions, with a focus on Latin America. Professor Levitsky is author of Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective (2003) and co-editor of Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness (2005) and Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (2006), and he is currently co-editing a volume on the rise of the Left in Latin America in the 2000s. He has published articles in the Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, the Journal of Democracy, the Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, the Latin American Research Review, Party Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, and World Politics. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy.
Lucan Way is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research interests include political regimes, fiscal and social reform, corruption, and post-communist politics. Professor Way is currently completing a book, Pluralism by Default: Sources of Political Competition in the Former Soviet Union, and has published articles in the Brown Journal of World Affairs, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Comparative Politics, East European Politics and Societies, the Journal of Democracy, the Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Politics and Society, Post-Soviet Affairs, Studies in Comparative and International Development, and World Politics, as well as several book chapters. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy.