Lunchtime Research Seminars

9 April, 2013
11.45 - 1.30 PM

The Origins of Electoral Authoritarianism and Democracy


 Lecturer Michael Miller

 Chair: Ferran Martínez i Coma

 Discussant: Margaret Levi

Synopsis: Despite the global spread of autocracies with multiparty elections, we know little about what predicts electoral authoritarianism (EA). To fill this gap, I use multinomial logit to simultaneously predict transitions to EA and democracy from non-electoral autocracy between 1946 and 2007. Because autocrats retain power under EA, I argue that EA transitions follow from a strategic calculus that balances incentives to hold elections against the costs of controlling them. As a result, socioeconomic factors that make voters easier to buy off, such as low average income and high inequality, predict EA adoption. In contrast, autocrats lack significant power under democracy, so democratization is predicted by regime weakness, but not socioeconomic conditions. Lastly, I find parallel regional diffusion effects: Democratic neighbors predict democratization and EA neighbors predict EA transition.

All university staff and graduate research students are welcome to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paper available from:




Location: The Boardroom, 276 Merewether Building (H04)