Explaining the Paradox of Plebiscites

  title={Explaining the Paradox of Plebiscites},
  author={Matt Qvortrup and Brendan O’Leary and Ronald Wintrobe},
  journal={Government and Opposition},
  pages={202 - 219}
Abstract Recent referendums show that autocratic regimes consult voters even if the outcome is a foregone conclusion. They have been doing so with increasing frequency since Napoleon consulted French citizens in 1800. Why and when do dictatorial regimes hold referendums they are certain they will win? Analysing the 162 referendums held in autocratic and non-free states in the period 1800–2012, the article shows that referendums with a 99% yes-vote tend to occur in autocracies with high ethnic… 

Plebiscites: a tool for dictatorship

Abstract The comparative study of authoritarianism has neglected plebiscites, and the comparative study of referendums tends to see in them a form of direct democracy regardless of the regime. We

Unravelling the New Plebiscitary Democracy: Towards a Research Agenda

  • F. Hendriks
  • Political Science
    Government and Opposition
  • 2020
Abstract Pushed by technological, cultural and related political drivers, a ‘new plebiscitary democracy’ is emerging which challenges established electoral democracy as well as variants of



The Rise of Referendums: Demystifying Direct Democracy

Abstract: Referendums have been portrayed as a favorite tool of populists and autocratic leaders. The empirical evidence, however, does not support this reading. The total number of plebiscites in

The Hitler Referenda

  • A. J. Zurcher
  • Political Science
    American Political Science Review
  • 1935
Although the ultimate form of the National Socialist political system in Germany is not yet clear, certain institutions are emerging which bid fair to make more than a passing claim to perdurance in

A Comparative Study of Referendums: Government by the People

The tale of Bruno: Introduction to the second edition Introduction: Should we have more referendums? 1. The referendum and the ideal of consensus government 2. A. V. Dicey's theory: The referendum as

The Rise of Illiberal Democracy

The American diplomat Richard Holbrooke pondered a problem on the eve of the September 1996 elections in Bosnia, which were meant to restore civic life to that ravaged country. "Suppose the election

Who Votes in Authoritarian Elections and Why? Determinants of Voter Turnout in Contemporary Egypt

This paper examines voter behavior in Egypt, an electoral authoritarian country. While some voters cast their ballots on an ideological basis, many Egyptian voters expect to receive a direct material

Cooperation, Cooptation, and Rebellion Under Dictatorships

Dictatorships are not all the same: some are purely autocratic but many exhibit a full panoply of seemingly democratic institutions. To explain these differences, we develop a model in which

What Do We Know About Democratization After Twenty Years

▪ Abstract This essay synthesizes the results of the large number of studies of late–20th-century democratization published during the last 20 years. Strong evidence supports the claims that

Authoritarian Regimes

  • P. Yap
  • Political Science
    The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Administrative Law
  • 2020
This chapter examines authoritarian regimes in relation to the configuration of political power/parties that is central to how autocracy is practised and sustained within the respective

Elections Under Authoritarianism

Current scholarship on elections in authoritarian regimes has focused on exploring the relationship between elections and democratization, and it has generally used analytical frameworks and methods

Authoritarian regime types revisited: updated data in comparative perspective

The modified and updated version of the authoritarian regime type dataset first introduced by Hadenius and Teorell is introduced and recognises the heterogeneous character of electoral regimes and provides a category corresponding to the theoretically interesting class of ‘electoral authoritarian’ regimes.