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Political Institutions under Dictatorship (Anglais) Broché – 26 juillet 2010

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Revue de presse

“This book represents a major contribution to the resurgent study of non-democratic regimes. It is one of the first substantial pieces of modern social scientific analysis of the phenomenon, skillfully combining formal and quantitative cross-national analysis with country case studies. It will have a major impact in the study of modern authoritarian regimes.”
-Miriam A. Golden, Professor of Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles

“Jennifer Gandhi’s book is not just a study of dictatorship, but an important contribution to comparative politics in general. While its topic is political institutions under dictatorship, its definition of dictatorship is the residual of a prominent and widely used definition and measure of democracy, so it builds a bridge between studies of democracy and of dictatorship. Her three kinds of dictatorship and two kinds of institutions produce a rich and informative empirical analysis in which she explains variation in the longevity, policy and performance of non-democratic governments.”
-William R Keech, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, Carnegie Mellon University

“Jennifer Gandhi has written a dazzling book. With incisive theorizing, a remarkable combination of formal theory and statistical analysis, and rich case studies, Gandhi has produced one of the first systematic comparative treatments of autocracy. Two of her main conclusions are that political institutions such as legislatures and political parties enable political bargains between dictators and their potential opponents, and that these institutions have major impacts on a wide range of outcomes, including economic performance. A must-read for anyone interested in comparative politics, political regimes and the political economy of development.”
-Beatriz Magaloni-Kerpel, Stanford University

“In Political Institutions under Dictatorship, Jennifer Gandhi provides important insights into the role that political parties and legislatures play in dictatorships. She disputes characterizations of these institutions as simple ‘window dressing,’ finding instead that political parties and legislatures can play an important role in policy formation, implementation and regime survival. The reason, she argues, is that these institutions provide an arena within which incumbents and potential opponents can forge policy compromises. Her analysis of these effects through an impressive database of dictatorships in the post-war era is clear and refreshingly frank. Political Institutions under Dictatorship is a must-read for scholars interested in authoritarian politics.”
-Ellen Lust-Okar, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University

“Gandhi breaks new ground in this theoretically and empirically rich book on authoritarian regimes that have adopted legislative institutions. These regimes are likely to spend somewhat less on the military, have a better human rights record, and provide more benefits to workers than their autocratic counterparts. While all of this sounds positive, Gandhi warns--contrary to the linear model of progressive democratization posited in modernization theory--that partial reforms may in fact allow authoritarian governments to prolong their rule by coopting the opposition.”
-Frances Rosenbluth, Yale University

"Jennifer Gandhi's book is a welcome addition to this literature."
Perspectives on Politics, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University

“As the title suggests, Jennifer Gandhi’s Political Institutions under Dictatorship argues that democratic-looking institutions, particularly legislatures, are not merely “window-dressing” but essential weapons in a dictator’s arsenal… Political Institutions under Dictatorship offers a somewhat different perspective on institutions, one that draws more from a rational choice as opposed to a historical-institutionalism perspective… This account of origins is clearly inspired by rational choice and functionalism, and Gandhi uses evidence from the case studies of Kuwait, Ecuador, and Morocco in her second chapter to illustrate that her deductions are empirically supportable.” -David Art, Comparative Politics

Présentation de l'éditeur

Often dismissed as window dressing, nominally democratic institutions, such as legislatures and political parties, play an important role in non-democratic regimes. In a comprehensive cross-national study of all non-democratic states from 1946 to 2002 that examines the political uses of these institutions by dictators, Jennifer Gandhi finds that legislative and partisan institutions are an important component in the operation and survival of authoritarian regimes. She examines how and why these institutions are useful to dictatorships in maintaining power. In their efforts to neutralize threats to their power and to solicit cooperation from society, autocratic leaders use these institutions to organize concessions to potential opposition. The use of legislatures and parties to co-opt opposition results in significant institutional effects on policies and outcomes under dictatorship.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Dictatorial institutions matter 20 septembre 2010
Par Enjolras - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Jennifer Gandhi has made a significant contribution to the literature with Political Institutions under Dictatorship. Unfortunately, most scholars focus on the executive branch of authoritarian regimes, whilst ignoring other institutions. Gandhi's thesis is that, far from being a "sham," authoritarian elites use "democratic-style" institutions like legislatures in order to co-opt potential opponents. This dynamic is driven by the dictator's need for support and the strength of the opposition. Her findings for that thesis are robust and well argued. The second half of her book attempts to explain the effect of institutionalization in dictatorships. She finds several interesting correlations (such as a relationship between a multiparty legislature and civil liberties), but I wasn't as convinced that she had proved causation (i.e., whether the legislature caused greater civil liberties, or was itself part of a reform package). Nonetheless, I suspect this will become THE book on authoritarian political institutions for some time to come.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Insightful political economy of dictatorial regimes, a starting place for researchers. 8 juillet 2012
Par Nathaniel Lane - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Jennifer Gandhi wrangles with a perplexing question: what explains the wide variation in political institutions used by dictators? In fact, why do dictators even use institutions, like parties and legislatures, at all? Gandhi contends institutions play a nuanced role in dictatorial regimes; more than "window dressing" they reflect aspects of the political economic landscape dictatorships must reconcile to sustain power. With a crisp model, a command of comparative politics, and interesting empirical hunches, Political Institutions Under Dictatorship delivers a compelling idea. Even so, some of the empirics may not live up to the power of the core theory. However, for graduate students and researchers interested in political economy and broad, cross-sectional research on dictatorial regimes, this will be a core reading.

Starting with a streamlined, clear definition of "dictator," Gandhi points out the deep heterogeneity of dictatorial regimes. Imposing "order" on the vast dataset of non-democratic states, she singles out both political parties and legislators as two core institutions used by dictators to govern. For Gandhi, these institutions provide vehicles to co-opt larger segments of society (or the opposition); even under a dictatorship, elites may utilize more democratic institutions to distribute rents and make concessions to sustain power. However, given a large resource base, the need for cooperation with others may decline. These insights are encapsulated in a simple, static game theoretical model between an opposition and the dictatorial regime.

Gandhi first motives her model with a short comparative analysis. The connection between her three historical cases and the theory is quite convincing. Kuwait illustrates the role of mineral wealth for a dictatorial regime. For generations, the emir had to contend with merchant elites occupying the national assembly, that is, until the discovery of oil allowed the royal family the power to appease opponents directly. Contrast this to Morocco, whose post-colonial history is defined by constant bargaining between monarchs and legislative assemblies, in the absence of the vast resource wealth. Enter, then, the case of Ecuador whose military government closed the legislature and promised radical economic reform. However, hamstrung by opposition from capital and labor alike, the Latin American dictatorship collapsed under it's own promises and non-institutionalization.

The rest of the book is concerned with the empirics and implication of her model. While the model yields equilibrium predictions and comparative statics that can be explored, Gandhi turns her attention to how institutions affect 1) growth and 2) duration of rule. With simple growth accounting-type regressions, Gandhi uncovers an interesting correlation between institutions (parties and legislatures) and subsequent growth. For her, this is "indirect" evidence that institutions under a dictatorship are likely the site of growth-enhancing policy concession. Turning to regime survival, she fails to find a relationship between institution-type and regime duration. For Gandhi, however, there shouldn't be a significant difference between institutionalized and non-institutionalized dictatorships: knowing the external threats they face, all dictators alike chose institutions as best responses (game theoretically) to opposition. Each regression, while incomplete, shows interesting research possibilities and patterns...

Getting nerdy: Gandhi is refreshing and honest about empirical issues. In her growth regressions, she admits that issues of endogeneity are abundant. Still, not all empirics are entirely transparent. Utilizing a Heckman-style two-step econometrics design, she attempts to rescue an aspect of the empirics from selection issues. However, with the "Heckit" method comes many assumptions that go un-addressed. In general, an econometrician may read many regression tables wanting more attention to robustness; while one does not have to use fancy schamncy causal methods to over address these issues, we may want "more" convincing specifications that validate her theory and remove competing confounders. This gets to a general issue of the book: the theory is wonderful and even intuitive, while the empirics may not fully connect with the power of the model. Gandhi's empirics remain an enticing, but sometimes distant parallel to a neat theory.

In sum, Gandhi poses an interesting theory about the nature of dictatorships, starting from an equally pressing question: why do dictatorships use legislators and parties to govern at all? Posing a clean microeconomic model of dictatorship, she nicely poses the idea that institutions, rather than "window dressing," are a strategic response to the political economy rulers face. With a command of comparative politics, the study is convincing and bold, albeit with a quantitative approach that may require some fine tuning, particularly for the applied econometrician. Still, Gandhi's work is a good read for doctoral students and researchers wanting to think clearly about dictatorships.
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