State capacity and the resilience of electoral authoritarianism: Conceptualizing and measuring the institutional underpinnings of autocratic power

  title={State capacity and the resilience of electoral authoritarianism: Conceptualizing and measuring the institutional underpinnings of autocratic power},
  author={Jonathan K. Hanson},
  journal={International Political Science Review},
  pages={17 - 32}
  • Jonathan K. Hanson
  • Published 1 January 2018
  • Political Science
  • International Political Science Review
This article discusses three main challenges to gaining a better understanding of whether state capacity contributes to the resilience of electoral authoritarian regimes. First, the concept of state capacity is multi-dimensional and can be entangled with regime organizational structures. Second, there is a range of different mechanisms through which elections may draw upon capacity in these different dimensions to affect authoritarian resilience. Third, good indicators of the dimensions of… 

Tables from this paper

High capacity, low resilience: The ‘developmental’ state and military–bureaucratic authoritarianism in South Korea
This article argues that high levels of state capacity are not a sufficient condition for consolidating autocratic rule. Rather, whether non-democratic rulers can harness the infrastructural power of
State and regime capacity in authoritarian elections: Egypt before the Arab spring
Scholarship on electoral authoritarianism has increasingly recognized state capacity as an element enhancing electoral control. Building on such arguments, I examine the interaction between state
Democracy, State Capacity, and COVID-19 Related School Closures
This paper investigates the institutional determinants of the timing of COVID-19 related school closures around the world, focusing on the role of democracy and administrative state capacity. Relying
Political institutions, state capacity, and crisis management: A comparison of China and South Korea
How do political institutions influence crisis management? By comparing responses to COVID-19 in China and South Korea, this article argues that different political institutions affect countries’
How State Capacity Helps Autocrats win Elections
Abstract Research has highlighted the role of the state in sustaining authoritarian regimes. But how does state capacity support autocrats during elections? The author argues that one specific aspect
Strong states, weak elections? How state capacity in authoritarian regimes conditions the democratizing power of elections
State capacity may be a crucial factor conditioning the democratizing power of elections in authoritarian regimes. This paper develops a two-phase theory considers the different effects of state
Institutionalising electoral uncertainty and authoritarian regime survival
The study finds that the question of whether elections are dangerous or stabilising for authoritarianism is dependent on differences between the ability of competitive and hegemonic forms of electoral authoritarianism to reduce electoral uncertainty.
Whose Resilience? Resilience and Regime Strength in EU-Azerbaijan Relations
The European Union (EU) has deepened its resilience-building policy substantially in recent years, expanding the scope of the concept and applying it to its external relations. However, as with many
Producing state capacity through corruption: the case of immigration control in Russia
ABSTRACT Immigration control in Russia, one of the world’s top five largest immigrant-receiving countries, is rife with corruption and other informal practices. Instead of framing corruption simply
Institutional foundations of global well-being: Democracy, state capacity and social protection
This is an article about the foundations of human well-being. It makes two integrated contributions. We first examine well-being around the contemporary world, finding a remarkable correlation


State capacity and political regime stability
Two recent strands of research have proposed that state capacity facilitates autocratic and democratic survival, respectively. While convincing arguments sustain each of these expectations, prior
State capacity and the paradox of authoritarian elections
A “paradox of authoritarian elections” prevails: While some researchers emphasize the stabilizing effect of authoritarian multi-party elections, others point to their potential for regime subversion.
Exploring the relationship between infrastructural and coercive state capacity
State power is usually defined as a concept encompassing two components: one is the infrastructural and administrative aspect of power; the other is the despotic or coercive power of the state.
Measuring state capacity: Theoretical and empirical implications for the study of civil conflict
This article identifies and addresses key conceptual and measurement issues raised by measures of state capacity in studies of civil conflict. First, it reviews competing definitions and
The state-democracy nexus: conceptual distinctions, theoretical perspectives, and comparative approaches
The notion that the state and the political regime are conceptually distinct but causally intertwined figures prominently in Western political theory. It is all the more surprising that the potential
Portents of Pluralism: How Hybrid Regimes Affect Democratic Transitions
The original studies of “competitive authoritarianism” and “hegemonic authoritarianism” inspected the occurrence of hybrid regimes during the 1990s but stopped short of testing their propensity for
The role of infrastructural and coercive state capacity in explaining different types of electoral fraud
While effective state capacity can reasonably be considered a necessary condition for democratization, strong states do not automatically produce democratic regimes, nor do they guarantee their
Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War
Based on a detailed study of 35 cases in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and post-communist Eurasia, this book explores the fate of competitive authoritarian regimes between 1990 and 2008. It finds that
Access to Power Versus Exercise of Power Reconceptualizing the Quality of Democracy in Latin America
Research on comparative democratization has recently expanded its focus to issues of institutional quality: clientelism, corruption, abuse of executive decree authority, and weak checks and balances.
Leviathan’s Latent Dimensions: Measuring State Capacity for Comparative Political Research
State capacity is a core concept in political science research, and it is widely recognized that state institutions exert considerable influence on outcomes such as economic development, civil