Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy
1 Feb 2018
Albertus, Michael; Menaldo, Victor
This book argues that - in terms of institutional design, the allocation of power and privilege, and the lived experiences of citizens - democracy often does not restart the political game after displacing authoritarianism. Democratic institutions are frequently designed by the outgoing authoritarian regime to shield incumbent elites from the rule of law and give them an unfair advantage over politics and the economy after democratization. Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy systematically documents and analyzes the constitutional tools that outgoing authoritarian elites use to accomplish these ends, such as electoral system design, legislative appointments, federalism, legal immunities, constitutional tribunal design, and supermajority thresholds for change. The study provides wide-ranging evidence for these claims using data that spans the globe and dates from 1800 to the present. Albertus and Menaldo also conduct detailed case studies of Chile and Sweden. In doing so, they explain why some democracies successfully overhaul their elite-biased constitutions for more egalitarian social contracts.