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Voting for Autocracy
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Book description

This 2006 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, and is the only systematic treatment in the literature today dealing with this form of autocracy.


'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 behaviour, 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, Rhode Island

'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, Connecticut

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