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Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes (1st edn)

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Natasha Lindstaedt, and Erica Frantz
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date: 07 February 2023

p. 1016. The Durability of Autocracylocked

p. 1016. The Durability of Autocracylocked

  • 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 identifies sources of authoritarian durability. To maintain a firm grip on power, authoritarian regimes must maintain some support among three primary constituencies: the elite, the opposition, and the broader public. After discussing the relationship of these groups to regime durability, the chapter outlines the two primary strategies that autocracies use to maintain control—repression and co-optation—and the benefits and risks of each. Repression is defined as a form of socio-political control used by authorities against those within their territorial jurisdiction to deter specific activities and beliefs perceived as threatening to political order. Dictatorships have also learned to use political institutions—namely elections, political parties, and legislatures—to co-opt their opponents. The chapter then highlights other factors that research has shown to enhance regime durability, including regime type, state capacity, a country's access to natural resource wealth, and whether the regime was born out of a revolutionary struggle.

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