Authoritarian Party Systems: Patterns of Emergence, Sustainability and Survival

In: Comparative Sociology
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  • 1 Department of Political Sciences and Sociology, European University, St.
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This article compares competitive authoritarian, one-party authoritarian, and democratic party systems on three parameters: likelihood to emerge, sustainability and durability. By applying a variety of statistical techniques to a comprehensive dataset on post-World War II elections, this study shows that under competitive authoritarianism, elections are less likely to be party-structured than in democracies, and that competitive authoritarian party systems are markedly less sustainable and durable than systems in the other categories, especially in democracies. These findings are in accordance with the theory according to which competitive authoritarian institutions are epiphenomena, reflecting the distribution of power in the polity but not shaping it. Their emergence and survival are consequences rather than causes of the stability and success of contemporary autocracies.

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