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Look Inside Voting for Autocracy

Voting for Autocracy
Hegemonic Party Survival and its Demise in Mexico

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: August 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521736596


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About the Authors
  • This book provides a theory of the logic of survival of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), one of the most resilient autocratic regimes in the twentieth century. An autocratic regime hid behind the facade of elections that were held with clockwise precision. Although their outcome was totally predictable, elections were not hollow rituals. The PRI made millions of ordinary citizens vest their interests in the survival of the autocratic regime. Voters could not simply throw the “rascals out of office” because their choices were constrained by a series of strategic dilemmas that compelled them to support the autocrats. The book also explores the factors that led to the demise of the PRI. The theory sheds light on the logic of “electoral autocracies,” among the most common type of autocracy today, and the factors that lead to the transformation of autocratic elections into democratic ones. This book is the only systematic treatment in the literature today dealing with this form of autocracy.

    • Provides a theory of autocratic elections and voting behavior under autocracy
    • Innovative analysis of the stability and demise of the Mexican PRI
    • Most complete analysis of the Mexican transition and the strategic interaction between elites and masses
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2007 Leon Epstein Award - Political Organizations and Parties Section

    Reviews & endorsements

    "The strengths of Voting for Autocracy are found in Magaloni's careful development of theoretical concepts and their comparative relevance, her rigorous methodological employment of game theoretic and statistical approaches, and her impressive compilation of electoral, opinino, and policy indicators."
    -David A. Shirk, University of San Diego

    "This book is the best analysis of the Mexican transition in the field that I have seen, and it is also the best-in-depth look at how an electoral authoritarian regime actually works. The book pulls together arguments about elite strategic behavior, voter's perceptions, and key institutional changes to explain the Mexican transition with both depth and sophistication."
    -Barbara Geddes, University of California, Los Angeles

    "In this carefully argued study, Beatriz Magaloni sheds light on the dynamics and breakdown of the PRI regime in Mexico, and, more generally, on the logic of electoral authoritarian regimes. Combining an in-depth analysis of Mexican politics with a broad comparative perspective, Magaloni develops and tests a novel theory that helps explain why citizens support autocratic rulers. The book merits the attention of students of political regimes, political parties, democratization, and Latin American politics."
    -Richard Snyder, Brown University

    "Magaloni's study of the dominance and collapse of a single-party dominant autocratic regime is a landmark in Mexican political economy and regime transitions. With incisive theorizing and rich empirical testing, she solves crucial puzzles, such as how an unpopular government can submit itself to elections and still retain power."
    -Susan Stokes, Yale University

    "Beatriz Magaloni make[s] important, original contributions to this debate and to the broader analysis of political parties, elections, and democratization. [...]Magaloni adopts a broad [...]persuasive perspective on the resource bases of the ruling party's dominance, stressing the multiple benefits that it derived both from overall federal government expenditures and from some specific social programs."
    -Kevin J. Middlebrook, University of London, Perspectives on Politics

    “The synthesis in this work of insights from modernization theory, political economy, rational choice, institutionalism, and transitions theory makes a strong argument about the role of authoritarian elections and the nature of hegemonic regimes.”
    -Yonatan L. Morse, World Politics

    “Beatriz Magaloni’s Voting for Autocracy not only demonstrates that hegemonic parties can successfully buy elections, but also shows how running up huge electoral majorities preserves authoritarian durability by dissuading defections by hegemonic party elites and demonstrating to both voters and the opposition the futility of challenging the system… Magaloni synthesizes decades of insights about elite and voter behavior to craft new models of both authoritarian durability and regime transition.” -David Art, Comparative Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521736596
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 221 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 27 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Equilibrium party hegemony
    2. Structural determinants of mass support
    3. Budget cycles under autocracy
    4. The politics of vote-buying
    5. Judging economic performance in hard times
    6. Ideological divisions in the opposition camp
    7. How voters choose and mass coordination dilemmas
    8. Electoral fraud and the game of electoral transitions
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Beatriz Magaloni, Stanford University, California
    Beatriz Magaloni is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.


    • Winner of the 2007 Leon Epstein Award - Political Organizations and Parties Section
    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - Comparative Democratization Section

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