Legitimation, cooptation, and repression and the survival of electoral autocracies

Aufsätze

Abstract

Conceptualizing the “three pillars of stability”, Gerschewski (2013) proposes legitimation, cooptation and repression as the fundamental principles of lasting autocratic rule. Recent studies put this so-called WZB model to an empirical test and probe the effects these three factors have on regime survival in light of autocratic elections (Lueders and Croissant 2014). Their finding that the WZB model has only limited explanatory power in competitive autocracies has sparked a broader debate about the empirical application of the model as such (Kailitz and Tanneberg 2015; Lueders and Croissant 2015). Our paper contributes to this debate in several ways: (1) rather than analyzing each pillar’s effect in isolation, we investigate their combined effect; (2) rather than assuming causal symmetry, we expect to find different explanations for autocratic stability and breakdown, respectively; (3) by focusing on configurations of the pillars, we are in the position to identify distinct types – or “worlds” (Gerschewski 2013) – of (un)stable autocracies. Using the data from Lueders and Croissant (2014) on elections in hegemonic and competitive authoritarian regimes between 1990 and 2009, we apply fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to empirically investigate which, if any, combination of the dimensions of legitimation, cooptation, and repression lead to the survival of autocratic regimes and which ones to their breakdown. Our findings suggest that single pillars in isolation are causally irrelevant; that the WZB model is, indeed, capable of identifying stable autocracy types but it does not perform well in identifying the reasons why autocracies break down; and that the two viable types of autocracies identified by us are meaningfully distinguished by their different legitimation strategies.

Keywords

Authoritarianism Elections Persistence Legitimation Cooptation Repression Qualitative Comparative Analysis 

Legitimation, Kooptation und Repression und das Überleben von elektoralen Autokratien

Zusammenfassung

Das Modell der „drei Säulen der Stabilität” (Gerschewski 2013) geht von Legitimation, Kooptation und Repression als den grundlegenden Prinzipien andauernder autokratischer Herrschaft aus. Jüngste Studien testen das sogenannte WZB-Modell empirisch und untersuchen die Effekte, welche die drei Faktoren auf das Überleben von Regimen im Kontext von autokratischen Wahlen haben (Lueders and Croissant 2014). Der Befund, dass das WZB-Modell nur eingeschränkte Erklärungskraft in kompetitiven Autokratien hat, löste eine breitere Debatte über die empirische Anwendung des Modells aus (Kailitz and Tanneberg 2015; Lueders and Croissant 2015). Unser Artikel trägt zu dieser Debatte in mehrerer Hinsicht bei: (1) Anstatt lediglich den Effekt einer jeden Säule isoliert zu betrachten, untersuchen wir das Wechselspiel der Säulen. (2) An Stelle von kausaler Symmetrie gehen wir von unterschiedlichen Erklärungen für autokratische Stabilität und Instabilität aus. (3) Durch den Fokus auf die unterschiedlichen Konfigurationen der Säulen sind wir in der Lage, verschiedene Typen – oder „Welten” (Gerschewski 2013) – von (in)stabilen Autokratien zu bestimmen. Mit den Daten von Lueders and Croissant (2014) zu Wahlen in hegemonialen und kompetitiven autoritären Regimen zwischen 1990 und 2009 führen wir eine fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis durch, um empirisch zu untersuchen, welche Kombinationen der Dimensionen von Legitimation, Kooptation und Repression zum Überleben und welche zum Zusammenbruch von autoritären Regimen führen. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen auf, dass einzelne Säulen allein keine kausale Relevanz haben, dass das WZB-Modell aber durchaus in der Lage ist, stablie Autokratie-Typen zu bestimmen wenn man denn die Kombination der verschiedenen Säulen untersucht. Um die Gründe für den Zusammenbruch von Autokratien auszumachen eignet sich das Modell nicht. Die zwei aus der Analyse resultierenden überlebensfähigen Typen von Autokratien unterscheiden sich wesentlich durch ihre verschiedenen Legitimations-Strategien.

Schlüsselwörter

Autoritarismus Wahlen Persistenz Legitimation Kooptation Repression Qualitative Comparative Analysis 

Supplementary material

12286_2017_332_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (421 kb)
Legitimation, Cooptation, and Repression and the Survival of Electoral Autocracies

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central European UniversityBudapestHungary

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