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Transitional justice – the act of reckoning with a former authoritarian regime after it has ceased to exist – has direct implications for democratic processes. Mechanisms of transitional justice have the power to influence who decides to go into politics, can shape politicians' behavior while in office, and can affect how politicians delegate policy decisions. However, these mechanisms are not all alike: some, known as transparency mechanisms, uncover authoritarian collaborators who did their work in secret while others, known as purges, fire open collaborators of the old regime. After Authoritarianism analyzes this distinction in order to uncover the contrasting effects these mechanisms have on sustaining and shaping the qualities of democratic processes. Using a highly disaggregated global transitional justice dataset, the book shows that mechanisms of transitional justice are far from being the epilogue of an outgoing authoritarian regime, and instead represent the crucial first chapter in a country's democratic story.


‘This methodologically sophisticated book dives deeply into the study of the processes by which new democracies extricate themselves from their authoritarian past. It convincingly demonstrates that lustrations and truth commissions exert a positive effect on the quality of representation of new democracies. This occurs because policies that disclose information about association with the outgoing regime limit the ability of former elites to extort concessions from politicians who collaborated with the authoritarian governments. Monika Nalepa successfully overturns the conventional wisdom about the efficacy of transparency during democratic transitions.’

Isabela Mares - Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science, Yale University

‘Dealing with those who collaborated with the former regime is a critical challenge in the wake of transitions from autocracy to democracy. Challenging conventional wisdom, Nalepa argues that exposing secret collaboration and dealing with known functionaries of the autocratic regime pose separate problems that require distinct approaches. After Authoritarianism combines conceptual and analytic clarity, original data, and cutting-edge empirical evaluation. This is a provocative book that calls into question received wisdom and offers a fresh perspective on the best means to establish and consolidate democracy in the face of authoritarian legacies.’

Georg Vanberg - Ernestine Friedl Professor of Political Science, Duke University

‘In this powerful and sophisticated book, Monika Nalepa delivers an extremely important lesson: ‘doing nothing’ about authoritarian elites after the end of a dictatorship (the so-called 'Spanish model' of democratic transition celebrated by so many in the academic and policy communities) distorts and diminishes the quality of democratic politics.’

Carles Boix - Robert Garrett Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

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