Party System Institutionalization and Stability in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes

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In this paper we explore the question of party system institutionalization in competitive authoritarian regimes. We begin with a discussion of party system institutionalization in democracies and in conventional authoritarian regimes and its central role in the regime stability in both types. We then explore the extent to which standard indicators of institutionalization, namely electoral volatility, are useful and meaningful within authoritarian contexts. We argue that they do have some utility, but that standard summary measures of electoral volatility are often too crude to be able to make confident inferences about the connection between volatility and such things as incumbent survival, policy stability, or regime duration. Instead, we argue that our typical measures of volatility need to be disaggregated and refined. In addition to aggregate electoral volatility, we distinguish between volatility of ruling and opposition parties, and also further divide opposition parties volatility into Type-A and Type-B volatility. We use a unique dataset to examine the association between different types of volatility and the survival of ruling party regimes, their replacement by a subsequent authoritarian regime, and democratization.
Discussant: Catarina Leao (Oxford)