Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War


Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mount Auburn, Suite 200-North, Room 226, Cambridge, MA

Lucan WayLucan Way, University of Toronto

About the Seminar
Professor Lucan Way’s upcoming seminar is based on the findings of his recent book Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After The Cold War, co-authored with Steven Levitsky. Competitive authoritarianism-regimes that combine competitive elections with serious violations of democratic procedures-proliferated in the post-Cold War era. This book explains the rise and diverging fate of competitive authoritarian regimes since 1990. Based on a comparative study of 35 cases in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and post-communist Eurasia, the book finds that extensive ties to the West facilitated democratization. By raising the external cost of abuse, linkage to the West brought democracy even where domestic conditions were unfavorable. Where such ties were limited, external democratizing pressure was weaker. Regime outcomes in these cases hinged on the character of state and ruling-party organizations. Where incumbents possessed robust coercive and party structures, competitive authoritarian regimes were durable; where incumbents lacked such organizational tools, regimes were unstable but rarely democratized.

About Lucan Way
Lucan Way is assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, where his research interests include regime change and weak states with a focus on postcommunist Eurasia. He has published articles in Comparative Politics, Journal of Democracy, Politics & Society, World Politics, and numerous edited volumes and area-based journals. He is currently completing a second book, Pluralism by Default: Sources of Political Competition in the Former Soviet Union.

Democracy Seminar Series
The Democracy Seminar Series brings distinguished speakers to Harvard Kennedy School for the academic year to address critical challenges facing democratic governance.