Authoritarian institutions and regime survival: Transitions to democracy and subsequent autocracy

Joseph Wright, Abel Escribà-Folch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-309
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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