- Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Andrea Kendall-TaylorDirector of the Transatlantic Security Program, Center for a New American Security
- Natasha LindstaedtNatasha LindstaedtProfessor of Government, University of Essex
- and Erica FrantzErica FrantzAssistant Professor, Michigan State University
This chapter evaluates those ambiguous systems that mix democratic characteristics with authoritarian tendencies. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a substantial rise in the number of these hybrid regimes. In fact, hybrid regimes have proliferated to such an extent that scholars contend they are now ‘the modal type of political regime in the developing world’. The chapter then maps the terrain between democracy and dictatorship. The goal is to highlight the wide variety of political systems today and underscore the rather astonishing frequency with which contemporary authoritarian regimes possess seemingly democratic features. The chapter identifies the different types of hybrid systems that occupy this middle ground—focusing on electoral democracy, competitive authoritarianism, and hegemonic authoritarianism—and defines their key characteristics. It also examines why hybrid systems have become more common in the post-Cold War era.