Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Autocratic Breakdown and Regime Transitions: A New Data Set

Abstract

When the leader of an autocratic regime loses power, one of three things happens. The incumbent leadership group is replaced by democratically elected leaders. Someone from the incumbent leadership group replaces him, and the regime persists. Or the incumbent leadership group loses control to a different group that replaces it with a new autocracy. Much scholarship exists on the first kind of transition, but little on transitions from one autocracy to another, though they make up about half of all regime changes. We introduce a new data set that facilitates the investigation of all three kinds of transition. It provides transition information for the 280 autocratic regimes in existence from 1946 to 2010. The data identify how regimes exit power, how much violence occurs during transitions, and whether the regimes that precede and succeed them are autocratic. We explain the data set and show how it differs from currently available data. The new data identify autocratic regime breakdowns regardless of whether the country democratizes, which makes possible the investigation of why the ouster of dictators sometimes leads to democracy but often does not, and many other questions. We present a number of examples to highlight how the new data can be used to explore questions about why dictators start wars and why autocratic breakdown sometimes results in the establishment of a new autocratic regime rather than democratization. We discuss the implications of these findings for the Arab Spring.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Jason Brownlee . 2009. “Portents of Pluralism: How Hybrid Regimes Affect Democratic Transitions.” American Journal of Political Science 53(3): 515–32.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita , and Alastair Smith . 2009. “Political Survival and Endogenous Institutional Change.” Comparative Political Studies 42(2): 167–97.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita , and Alastair Smith . 2010. “Leader Survival, Revolutions, and the Nature of Government Finance.” American Journal of Political Science 54(4): 936–50.

José Antonio Cheibub , Jennifer Gandhi , and James Raymond Vreeland . 2010b. “Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited.” Public Choice 143(1-2): 67101.

Giacomo Chiozza , and Hein Goemans . 2011. Leaders and International Conflict. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Abel Escribà-Folch . 2013. “Repression, Political Threats, and Survival under Autocracy.” International Political Science Review 34(5): 543–60.

Barbara Geddes . 1999. “What Do We Know about Democratization after Twenty Years?Annual Review of Political Science 2: 115–44.

Barbara Geddes . 2003. Paradigms and Sand Castles: Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Hein Goemans . 2000. “Fighting for Survival: The Fate of Leaders and the Duration of War.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 44(5): 555–79.

Hein Goemans , Kristian Skrede Gleditsch , and Giacomo Chiozza . 2009. “Introducing Archigos: A Dataset of Political Leaders.” Journal of Peace Research 46(2): 269–83.

Axel Hadenius , and Jan Teorell . 2007. “Pathways from Authoritarianism.” Journal of Democracy 18(1): 143–56.

Steven Levitsky , and Lucan Way . 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Victor Menaldo . 2012. “The Middle East and North Africa’s Resilient Monarchs.” Journal of Politics 74(3): 707–22.

Jeffrey Pickering , and Mark Peceny . 2006. “Forging Democracy at Gunpoint.” International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 539–60.

Adam Przeworski , Michael Alvarez , Jose Antonio Cheibub , and Fernando Limongi . 2000. Democracy and Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alejandro Quiroz Flores . 2012. “A Competing Risks Model of War Termination and Leader Change.” International Studies Quarterly 56(4): 809–19.

Edeltraud Roller . 2013. “Comparing the Performance of Autocracies: Issues in Measuring Types of Autocratic Regimes and Performance.” Contemporary Politics 19(1): 3554.

Benjamin Smith . 2004. “Oil Wealth and Regime Survival in the Developing World: 1960–1999.” American Journal of Political Science 48(2): 232–46.

Milan Svolik . 2012. The Politics of Authoritarian Rule. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jay Ulfelder . 2005. “Contentious Collective Action and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes.” International Political Science Review 26(3): 311–34.

Michael Wahman , Jan Teorell , and Axel Hadenius . 2013. “Authoritarian Regime Types Revisited: Updated Data in Comparative Perspective.” Contemporary Politics 19(1): 1934.

Lucan Way . 2011. “The Lessons of 1989.” Journal of Democracy 22(4): 1727.

Kurt Weyland . 2013. “The Arab Spring: Why the Surprising Similarities with the Revolutionary Wave of 1848?Perspectives on Politics 10(4): 917–34.

Joseph G Wright . 2008. “Do Authoritarian Political Institutions Constrain? How Legislatures Affect Economic Growth and Investment.” American Journal of Political Science 52(2): 322–43.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Geddes supplementary material
Geddes supplementary material

 PDF (761 KB)
761 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 141
Total number of PDF views: 1271 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 4514 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.