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Authoritarian Institutions and Regime Survival: Transitions to Democracy and Subsequent Autocracy


This article examines how authoritarian parties and legislatures affect regime survival. While authoritarian legislatures increase the stability of dictators, political parties – even when devised to quell internal threats – can destabilize dictators. The main argument is that authoritarian parties influence the distribution of power in a subsequent new democracy by helping to protect the interests of authoritarian elites. These institutions thus increase the likelihood of democratization. Using a dataset of authoritarian regimes in 108 countries from 1946 to 2002 and accounting for simultaneity, the analysis models transitions to democracy and to a subsequent authoritarian regime. Results indicate that authoritarian legislatures are associated with a lower probability of transition to a subsequent dictatorship. Authoritarian parties, however, are associated with a higher likelihood of democratization.

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