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Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt

$119.00 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107000551

$ 119.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Despite its authoritarian political structure, Egypt’s government has held competitive, multi-party parliamentary elections for more than 30 years. This book argues that, rather than undermining the durability of the Mubarak regime, competitive parliamentary elections ease important forms of distributional conflict, particularly conflict over access to spoils. In a comprehensive examination of the distributive consequences of authoritarian elections in Egypt, Lisa Blaydes examines the triadic relationship between Egypt’s ruling regime, the rent-seeking elite that supports the regime, and the ordinary citizens who participate in these elections. She describes why parliamentary candidates finance campaigns to win seats in a legislature that lacks policymaking power, as well as why citizens engage in the costly act of voting in such a context.

    • One of very few studies of Middle Eastern politics that uses a mixed-methods approach - (a combination of qualitative description based on field work and statistical analysis)
    • Understanding the political situation in Egypt is particularly important given the likely transition that will take place in the next year or two to a new ruler there
    • Book includes a chapter looking at authoritarian elections in a wider set of Middle Eastern cases, and should interest both students of the Middle East as well as those interested in authoritarian politics outside the Middle East
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Dr. Blaydes seeks to answer the question, ‘Why do authoritarian rulers like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, hold elections?’ Her research examines how the regime in Egypt sustains its undemocratic rule with elections. She argues that elections represent a Pareto improvement for all relevant actors in Egyptian politics — the regime, citizens, and the political elite, including rent-seeking political entrepreneurs, ideological opposition and the military as well as external actors. This book is likely to shift the dominant Egyptian paradigm from a lingering fascination with the cultural structuring of social movements toward a reconsideration of political rationality in unexpected places.”
    —Leonard Binder, University of California, Los Angeles

    “Political scientists are finally returning sustained and rigorous attention to the ways that authoritarian regimes of various stripes operate. As they do so, they will find Lisa Blaydes’s Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt singularly useful. Blaydes deftly employs Egypt’s electoral system as an avenue for understanding how the regime operates, how citizens (both rich and poor) experience the political system and act politically, and how real and potential opposition act in the constricted channels provided. Elections in authoritarian systems are not anomalous; they have become the norm. Blaydes helps us understand how balloting fits into authoritarian politics.”
    —Nathan J. Brown, The George Washington University

    “Blaydes explores the mechanisms by which competitive parliamentary elections help sustain authoritarianism in contemporary Egypt. Competitive elections perform multiple functions, from managing distributional conflict among the elite to mapping the spatial distribution of regime supporters. Blaydes moves fluidly from the perspective of the regime and the rent-seeking elite to that of citizens, both supporters and regime opponents, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of participating in elections to a powerless parliament. Elections and Distributive Politics combines thematic breadth, insightful analysis, and methodological rigor; all students of authoritarian dynamics will find valuable lessons in this important book.”
    —David Waldner, University of Virginia

    “A wonderfully incisive analysis based on new data and judicious personal observation, this is the first comprehensive answer to the puzzle of why the Egyptian regime spends so much effort on the organization of elections without choices. Blaydes makes an expert contribution to the study of the political behavior of authoritarian regimes. If you read one book on contemporary Egyptian politics, read this.”
    —Roger Owen, Harvard University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107000551
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 163 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Political and economic change since 1952
    3. Elections and elite management
    4. The politics of infrastructure provision
    5. Electoral budget cycles and economic opposition
    6. Vote buying, turnout, and spoiled ballots
    7. Elections and elite corruption
    8. Elections and the Muslim brotherhood
    9. Liberal intellectuals and the demand for democratic change
    10. Foreign pressure and institutional change
    11. Egypt in comparative perspective
    12. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University, California
    Lisa Blaydes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Her work has appeared previously in International Organization, the Middle East Journal, World Politics and other journals. The dissertation on which this book is based received the 2009 Gabriel Almond Award for best dissertation in the field of comparative politics from the American Political Science Association. Blaydes received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. From 2008 to 2010 she was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

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