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Elections and Political Regimes

  • Jennifer Gandhi


Post-Cold War autocracies appear novel in their use of multiparty elections, attracting the attention of scholars and policymakers alike. A longer historical view, however, reveals that what is unique is not electoral authoritarianism after 1989, but rather the electoral inactivity of autocracies during the Cold War period. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, authoritarian regimes have held multiparty elections. The prevalence of these elections begs the question of whether they have any effects on political liberalization and democratization. But the study of authoritarian elections in processes of political change faces a number of theoretical and empirical challenges that can only partly be surmounted with existing approaches.



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Jennifer Gandhi is Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at Emory College of Arts and Sciences. Contact email:



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Elections and Political Regimes

  • Jennifer Gandhi


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