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V-Dem Seminar with Rachel Riedl


Rachel Riedl (visiting scholar 29 Jan-2 Feb). Title: Authoritarian-Led Democratization.

Abstract: There are currently two very different visions - in a sense even diametrically opposed visions - for why authoritarian regimes become democracies when they do. The first perspective holds that dictatorships democratize at moments of little choice. The regime is splintering and crumbling from within (O´Donnell and Schmitter 1986); rising popular protests threaten to topple the dictator and his inner circle violently, especially when the regime is highly personalized (Acemoglu and Robinson 2006, Geddes 1999); emergent bourgeoisies demand democratization to protect their burgeoning fortunes from autocratic expropriation (Ansell and Samuels 2014, North and Weingast 1989); and/or superpower patrons insist on democratization as a condition for continued, essential aid and support (Bratton and van de Walle 1997). As Dahl (1971) so memorably put it, if the costs of repression come to exceed the costs of toleration, authoritarian regimes can be expected to step aside, grudgingly, allowing democracy to emerge and their opponents to assume power. I advance a second perspective (along with coauthors Slater, Wong and Ziblatt): dictatorships democratize when they perceive little risk. Relative economic equality, asset mobility, and/or natural resource abundance mean democracy will not produce overwhelming pressures for downward redistribution (Boix 2003, Dunning 2008); regime insiders have "skeletons in the closet" on their opponents, allowing them to step aside without fear of transitional justice (Nalepa 2010); dictators have a "usable past" that will allow them to pursue redemption and renovation in a competitive democracy (Grzymala-Busse 2003); military rulers know that they can retreat to their barracks and reassume their professional duties unmolested (Geddes 1999); and/or authoritarian leaders can define the terms and timing of their own exit, allowing them to "game democracy" in their own elitist favor. This paper offers a unified theoretical framework to demonstrate how democratization can sometimes be - and oftentimes is - a strategic choice much more than a forced move.

Bio: Rachel Beatty Riedl is associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, where she is a faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research, the director of the French Interdisciplinary Group, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Program of African Studies. The author of the award-winning Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2014), she studies institutional development in new democracies, local governance and decentralization policy, authoritarian regime legacies, and religion and politics, with a regional focus in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has published in the Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Studies in Comparative International Development, African Affairs, among others. Riedl is the Chair of the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association. A former Kellogg Institute visiting fellow, Yale Program on Democracy Fellow, and Faculty Fulbright Scholar, she holds a PhD from Princeton University. Riedl is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has conducted policy analysis for USAID, the World Bank, the State Department and the Carter Center on issues pertaining to governance, elections, democratic representation and identity politics.

Datum: 2018-01-31

Tid: 12:00 - 13:00

Kategorier: Samhällsvetenskap

Arrangör: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen/V-Dem

Plats: B336, Stora Skansen

Kontaktperson: Natalia Stepanova

Sidansvarig: |Sidan uppdaterades: 2011-03-07

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