Welcome to the Journal of Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics, an international journal presenting scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and processes, communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, students, and public and NGO officials. The journal is indispensable to experts in universities, research organizations, foundations, embassies, and policymaking agencies throughout the world.

Volume 49, Number 2, January 2017

Sarah Sunn Bush and Eleanor Gao, Small Tribes, Big Gains: The Strategic Uses of Gender Quotas in the Middle East

Why do some political actors nominate women more than others in the Muslim world? This article argues that certain social groups have an instrumental demand for female candidates because they believe such candidates will enhance their electoral chances in the wake of gender quotas’ adoption. Looking at Jordan, it hypothesizes that small tribes can make big gains by nominating women due to the design of the country’s reserved seat quota. This argument complements existing perspectives on women’s (under-)representation in the Muslim world, which emphasize the role of features of the culture, economy, or religion. The analysis of original data on Jordan’s local elections and tribes supports the argument. The article’s findings have implications for our understanding of women’s representation, tribal politics, and authoritarian elections.

Brandon Van Dyck, The Paradox of Adversity: New Left Party Survival and Collapse in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina

Strong parties are critical for democracy, but under what conditions do strong parties emerge? Paradoxically, adverse conditions may facilitate successful party-building. Office-seekers with low access to state resources and mass media must undertake the difficult work of organization-building to contend for power. Because organization-building is slow, laborious, sometimes risky, and usually non-remunerative, the process selects for ideologically committed activists. Low state and media access thus facilitates the construction of durable parties—and is empirically associated with opposition to authoritarian rule. The article illustrates this argument through a comparison of three recently emerged left-wing parties in Latin America: two that survived early electoral crises, Brazil’s Workers’ Party and Mexico’s Party of the Democratic Revolution, and one that did not, Argentina’s Front for a Country in Solidarity.

Dorothee Bohle and Wade Jacoby, Lean, Special, or Consensual? Vulnerability and External Buffering in the Small States of East-Central Europe

This article embeds the small state experiences in East Central Europe into the broader comparative political economy literature. These broader debates have developed three propositions—one about the need for liberal orthodoxy in small, vulnerable states, a second about special forms of comparative advantage such small states might develop, and the third about the capacities of small states to adapt through consultation and compensation. We demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of each in East Central Europe, and we then analyze a key scope condition for small states’ successful adaptation, namely the buffering function from the international system. Existing literature overemphasizes the impact of domestic strategies and downplays the contribution of the international system when accounting for small states’ successes (and failures) in recovering after major shocks. Only when domestic strategies are supported (rather than undercut) by external factors can small states recover and adapt.

Güneş Murat Tezcür and Mehmet Gurses, Ethnic Exclusion and Mobilization: The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey

Why does ethnicity become politically salient and the basis of mobilization for some members of a disadvantaged group but not for others? This article suggests that members of a disadvantaged ethnic group are unlikely to support ethnic mobilization as long as they perceive the channels of personal mobility in the political system open. It builds upon an original dataset of biographical information of 2,952 governors, ministers, and judges in Turkey. The results show that support for Kurdish ethno-mobilization and recruitment into the Kurdish insurgency remain low in Kurdish localities with greater representation in the echelons of political power. This finding supports institutional approach to the study of ethnicity and demonstrates the importance of state recruitment patterns in shaping the political saliency of ethnic identity.

Todd A. Eisenstadt and Karleen Jones West, Opinion, Vulnerability, and Living with Extraction on Ecuador’s Oil Frontier: Where the Debate Between Development and Environmentalism Gets Personal

While economic structural arguments have long explained pro-environment attitudes in affluent, developed countries, these arguments are insufficient in poorer developing nations, where citizens may feel more vulnerable to ecosystem change. Using a nationwide survey of environmental dispositions in Ecuador, we argue that vulnerability to environmental changes and proximity to resource extraction are instrumental in shaping environmental concern. We claim that vulnerability to environmental change enhances concern over the environment. We also argue that a respondent’s proximity to where extraction has occurred or is under consideration also increases their environmental concern. Our survey analysis strongly supports our hypotheses, leading us to conclude that attitudes based on self-interest rather than normative values may be easier for policymakers to draw upon in devising policy reforms.

Matthew Rhodes-Purdy, Beyond the Balance Sheet: Performance, Participation, and Regime Support in Latin America

This article examines incongruities between policy performance and regime support in Chile and Venezuela. Democratic theory and political psychology suggest that intrinsic characteristics of regime procedures, especially the extent to which those procedures provide citizens with a meaningful political role, can influence support independently of policy outcomes. I find that Chile’s elitist democracy has created an enervated populace, leading to anemic support. Conversely, Venezuela’s provisions for direct participatory opportunities help to legitimate the Bolivarian regime, in spite of its authoritarian tendencies, by encouraging a sense of control and efficacy among its citizens.

Henry Thomson, Food and Power: Agricultural Policy under Democracy and Dictatorship

Political interventions in agricultural markets have significant effects on development outcomes. Although dictatorships have been found to follow urban-biased policies, which decrease the price of agricultural produce, this finding does not fully explain variation in agricultural policy across regime type. I argue that policy under autocracy is a function of the power of producers and consumers to organize collectively and threaten a regime, while democratic governments respond to electoral incentives for redistribution. I analyze policy outcomes in 56 countries between 1963 and 2002 and find that democracies increase returns to farmers compared to autocracies. However, autocracies provide greater levels of support to farmers when landholding inequality or income inequality is high. Urbanization is associated with lower rates of assistance to agriculture under dictatorship versus democracy.

Volume 49, Number 1, October 2016

Darius Ornston and Mark I. Vail, The Developmental State in Developed Societies: Power, Partnership, and Divergent Patterns of Intervention in France and Finland

While the state continues to play a prominent role in the literature on developing countries, its absence in the work on advanced, industrialized societies is equally conspicuous. This article examines what happens to developmental states as they mature by analyzing the evolution of two, similar, statist societies, France and Finland. In contrast to recent literature on state-led or state-enhanced capitalism, we identify two responses to contemporary challenges. The French “marketizing state” used a combination of coercion and compensation to increase market competition, whereas the Finnish “investment state” targeted productivity-enhancing collective goods. We attribute these divergent responses to the structure of the postwar developmental state.

Hernán Flom and Alison E. Post, Blame Avoidance and Policy Stability in Developing Democracies: The Politics of Public Security in Buenos Aires

Democratization originally inspired hope that new regimes would privilege human rights. However, progressive reforms to the criminal code have been insufficient to stem dramatic increases in incarceration rates, and developing democracies have made little headway reforming their ineffective police forces. How can we explain the stability and enforcement of punitive criminal justice policies and the erosion of police reforms? We offer a novel theoretical explanation of these contrasting patterns through a comparison of these two policy areas in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Incentives to avoid blame for salient crimes discourage politicians from repealing punitive criminal justice policies and incentivize judges to enforce them. Responsibility for failed police reforms, however, is harder to assign, giving the police and their allies opportunities to undermine them.

Steven T. Wuhs, Paths and Places of Party Formation: The Post-Unification Development of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union

Maps of electoral results across the Federal Republic of Germany show remarkable stability over the postwar period. While historical social cleavages are the foundation of western Germany’s stable electoral geography, in the five eastern states crucial events in 1989 and 1990, largely independent of social structural factors, established particular trajectories of party formation that shaped parties’ electoral success. Drawing on interviews with political elites and archival documents, I use a critical juncture analysis approach to explain the temporally and spatially contingent nature of party formation processes in eastern Germany after 1989. This analysis shifts debates about party formation from the questions of when and why, to how and where parties form, while also explaining the origin and persistence of territorialized party systems.

Kerstin Hamann, Alison Johnston, and John Kelly, The Electoral Effects of General Strikes in Western Europe

General strikes against unpopular policy reforms have occurred with increasing frequency across Western Europe since 1980. These strikes, in conjunction with governments’ willingness to offer concessions in their wake, raise the question of whether they have electoral consequences. We analyze how the interaction between general strikes and social spending retrenchment, as well as the interaction between social pacts and social spending retrenchment, influence electoral outcomes for governments for sixteen Western European countries (EU15 plus Norway) from 1980–2012. We find that electoral losses for incumbents engaging in welfare retrenchment are magnified by a general strike during the electoral cycle, but are mitigated if a social pact is concluded in the same electoral cycle. These magnifying and mitigating effects are greater the closer a general strike or a social pact is to an election. Our results suggest that general strikes, unlike social pacts, serve the important function of blame attribution, as they publically assign the responsibility of retrenchment policies to incumbents.

Michael K. Miller, Democracy by Example? Why Democracy Spreads When the World’s Democracies Prosper

Does a positive association between democracy and economic growth around the world encourage the spread of democracy? Although this intuitive relationship has been linked to the global ebb and flow of fascism and Communism, no study has empirically tested this question. I argue that democracy’s relative economic success in the world influences perceptions of its domestic advantages and thereby shifts popular and elite preferences in favor of democracy. Looking at 172 countries from 1820–2010, I show that the world-level correlation between democracy and economic growth robustly predicts the spread of democracy and represents a major source of its historical advance. The results provide new insights into the foreign influences on democratization, China’s challenge to the liberal democratic order, and the political legacy of the global financial crisis.

Melanie Kolbe and Markus M. L. Crepaz, The Power of Citizenship: How Immigrant Incorporation Affects Attitudes towards Social Benefits

Natives in Europe are often opposed to immigrants receiving social services that previously have been reserved for citizens only, but as it turns out, so are a number of immigrants. This article argues that seemingly “welfare chauvinist” attitudes among immigrants are in fact an expression of incorporation as naturalized immigrants are more critical of unconditional benefits usage. Using survey data, we compare attitudes among natives, naturalized citizens, and foreign residents, and test competing explanations for welfare chauvinism. We find that naturalization is the strongest predictor of reservations towards benefit openness for immigrants among foreign-born individuals. This article contributes to contemporary studies on the importance of citizenship for community membership, welfare chauvinism in European societies, and the growing field of immigrant public opinion research.

Jennifer Cyr, Between Adaptation and Breakdown: Conceptualizing Party Survival

What happens to political parties after they experience a sudden and dramatic decline in their national vote share? The literature identifies two outcomes. Parties successfully adapt to change, or they fail and breakdown. I provide nuance to this dichotomy by conceptualizing party survival as a stage that lies between adaptation and breakdown. I argue that a party survives national-electoral crisis when it continues to fulfill at least one of its primary functions. It may survive as: a localized subnational electoral entity, a nationalized subnational entity, or as part of the public debate. I identify examples of each survival type in a region where electoral crises have been particularly acute: the Andean region of Latin America. These cases demonstrate that party survival matters for politics.

Volume 48, Number 4, July 2016

Kevin Koehler, Dorothy Ohl, and Holger Albrecht, From Disaffection to Desertion: How Networks Facilitate Military Insubordination in Civil Conflict

Scholarship on intrastate conflict and civil-military relations has largely ignored individual desertions during civil war. We show that high-risk behavior, such as desertion, is best thought of as coordinated action between individual decision-makers and their strong network ties. Soldiers hold preexisting opinions on whether high-risk action is worthwhile, but it is their networks that persuade them to act. Specifically, it is the content of strong network ties (rather than their mere existence) and the ability to interpret information (rather than the presence of information), which helps explain individual action under extreme risk. Our thick empirical narrative is based on substantial fieldwork on the Syrian conflict and contributes to debates on military cohesion, intrastate conflict trajectories, and the power of networks in catalyzing high-risk behavior.

Santiago Anria, Democratizing Democracy? Civil Society and Party Organization in Bolivia

The rise to power of movement-based parties is a new and expanding phenomenon. Existing theories predict these parties will become increasingly oligarchic as they govern nationally. The Bolivian MAS deviates from this conventional wisdom, as it has followed a remarkably different organizational trajectory that has facilitated grassroots impact and constrained elite control. Through a within-case comparative examination of MAS, this article identifies necessary conditions and explains mechanisms facilitating this outcome in the crucial area of candidate selection. Key to understanding how these parties operate is the organizational context in which they are embedded. Where civil society is strong, has mechanisms to arrive at decisions, and can agree on candidate selection, it can play an important role in resisting the oligarchization of allied movement-based parties.

Agnes Blome, Normative Beliefs, Party Competition, and Work-Family Policy Reforms in Germany and Italy

For a long time, German and Italian work-family policies reflected the traditional male-breadwinner model. Recently, however, the parental leave scheme was substantially reformed and public childcare provision significantly expanded in Germany. By contrast, Italy, a country known for many similarities, witnessed little change. I use the systematic variation in the development of normative beliefs and political competition to explain why policy change occurred in Germany but not in Italy between 1990 and 2009. Based on individual-level data on voting behavior and on normative beliefs, I show that a change in normative beliefs and increased party competition contributed to this policy change in Germany. In Italy, by contrast, the population still generally prefers a traditional work-family model, and work-family policies are not a salient issue for party competition.

Kathryn Hochstetler and J. Ricardo Tranjan, Environment and Consultation in the Brazilian Democratic Developmental State

Twenty-first century developmental projects like those of the Brazilian Workers’ Party take place in a regulatory context that—at least on paper—demands new scrutiny of their environmental and community impacts. Scholars of the democratic developmental state also argue that development now requires building human capabilities, promoting sustainable development, and seeking community feedback. We examine 302 electricity projects financed by BNDES to see if and when these developmentalist infrastructure projects faced challenging scrutiny on environmental and community impact grounds. 29 percent generated organized community opposition, extended licensing processes, and/or legal action. These were most common for large projects and projects where community and state actors worked together in blocking coalitions. We conclude that the ideals of the democratic developmental state are more compatible in theory than in practice.

Lauren Honig, Immigrant Political Economies and Exclusionary Policy in Africa

In moments of heightened anti-immigrant sentiment, why do states use different forms of exclusionary policies? While scholarship has traditionally grouped together immigration policies to study variation between open and closed immigration regimes, these policies are not of one kind. This article examines the cases of Ghana’s 1969 expulsion order targeting immigrant traders and Côte d’Ivoire’s 1998 restrictive land policy that curtailed the rights of immigrant farmers to explain how the economic power of immigrants shapes the types of exclusionary policies used. By leveraging the important similarities between the neighboring West African countries, this article demonstrates that these different forms of anti-immigrant policies reflect not the number of immigrants in certain industries, culture, or objective measures of economic scarcity, but divergent immigrant political economies.

Kelly M. McMann, Developing State Legitimacy: The Credibility of Messengers and the Utility, Fit, and Success of Ideas

Legitimacy is important to governance, yet we know little about how it develops. This article examines an initial step—how citizens come to use the same criteria to evaluate legitimacy. Earlier studies have identified the state and society as sources of possible legitimacy criteria but have not explained the process by which citizens adopt them. This article offers a framework to help understand this process. Specifically, it argues that citizens embrace ideas as legitimacy criteria based on the credibility of the messengers and the utility, fit, and success of the ideas. Original survey, in-depth interviews, and observational data from Central Asia as well as published accounts of government leaders’ and societal forces’ ideas and actions in the region illustrate the argument.

Yael Shomer, The Electoral Environment and Legislator Dissent

Electoral rules and party candidate selection processes both affect legislators’ behavior, specifically, their tendency to either toe or break their party’s line. However, elections and selections may produce contradictory incentives for legislators, leading us to ask how conflicting motivations affect legislators’ tendencies to dissent. I argue that the effect of these two institutions is conditional and that legislators who face contradictory incentives will tend to maintain voting discipline. On the other hand, when the incentives of elections and selections align, they tend to amplify one another. This is especially true when elections and selections both incentivize personalization. In this article, I test and find support for the conditional hypothesis using an original individual-level dataset with more than 6,700 legislators from thirty country-sessions.

Volume 48, Number 3, April 2016

Yoshiko M. Herrera and Nicole M. Butkovich Kraus, Pride Versus Prejudice: Ethnicity, National Identity, and Xenophobia in Russia

This article examines the relationship between ethnicity, national identity, and xenophobia in Russia. Using survey data we analyze three hypotheses that might explain xenophobia toward five different groups: Roma, Chechens, Azerbaijanis, Muslims, and Americans. We find support for social dominance theory in a positive relationship between Slavic ethnicity and xenophobia. We then go beyond ethnicity to analyze Russian national identity content, and we find that pride does not simply equal prejudice: particular types of national identity content predicted greater or lesser xenophobia depending on the target group. Finally, we analyze theories of economic threat and xenophobia, and the findings are unexpected: higher income is associated with greater hostility toward most groups, and, for most target groups, economic vulnerability does not increase xenophobia.

Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein, Why Did Neoliberalism Triumph and Endure in the Post-Communist World?

Post-Communist countries have been among the most fervent adopters of free market reforms. Not only did they adopt most of the policies of the Washington Consensus and achieve the same levels of liberalization as other advanced industrialized economies according to standard measures, but they also exceeded other countries in adopting avant-garde neoliberal reforms like the flat tax and pension privatization. Time and again, Eastern European and Eurasian governments overcame expected obstacles to liberalization. This article argues that the post-Communist countries’ protracted adoption of neoliberal policies must be seen through the lens of international economic integration and the need to compete with other developing countries for capital, most of which began to liberalize their economies a decade before 1989. Through a process of “competitive signaling,” numerous Eastern European and Eurasian countries used the adoption of sometimes extreme neoliberal economic reforms to attract attention from investors.

Erica Marat, Reforming Police in Post-Communist Countries: International Efforts, Domestic Heroes

This article explores the conditions in which democratic police reforms are likely to succeed and when they will fail. It addresses criticism that international efforts to democratize police forces in countries with recent authoritarian past rests in the donors’ tendency to work with the very same political officials and government agencies that rely on the coercive power of the police. However, the alternative bottom-up reform approach that would involve non-state actors is harder to define. Based on the analysis of five post-communist countries that have officially embarked on police reform efforts with the help of international community, the article finds that bottom-up police reform is likely to take place in urban areas where non-state actors are ready for long-term engagement and are flexible in their demands.

Monika Nalepa, Party Institutionalization and Legislative Organization: The Evolution of Agenda Power in the Polish Parliament

Can one organize a legislature for majoritarian control in a fragile party system where formal rules grant extensive powers to the government opposition and individual parliamentarians? Semi-structured interviews with MPs in the Polish Sejm uncover that changes in the party system influenced the government’s use of legislative institutions to take majoritarian control of the legislature. In contrast to governments formed by transitional parties that ultimately collapsed, governments led by more institutionalized parties effectively delegated power to their leadership to pursue collective party goals and to reduce the opposition’s legislative influence. The quantitative analysis using roll call votes and bills submitted during four terms of the Polish Sejm (1997–2011) examines two aspects of party influence: negative agenda control and legislative success.

Virginia Oliveros, Making it Personal: Clientelism, Favors, and the Personalization of Public Administration in Argentina

Conventional wisdom says that patronage employees provide political services to their patrons in exchange for their jobs. The provision of favors to voters is one of the most crucial of these services, yet it has been neglected by the literature. Do public employees actually grant favors? How widespread is this phenomenon? Who are the employees involved? Drawing on original survey data and interviews with public employees, political brokers, and politicians in Argentina, I provide systematic evidence of the provision of favors. In particular, this article shows that patronage employees are more involved than non-patronage employees in dispensing favors to voters. This demonstrates that patronage employees do in fact comply with their side of the agreement by providing the expected services in return for their jobs.

Elin Bjarnegård and Pär Zetterberg, Political Parties and Gender Quota Implementation:The Role of Bureaucratized Candidate Selection Procedures

This article scrutinizes the role of political parties in gender quota implementation. First, it theoretically specifies and operationalizes the concept of bureaucratization in relation to candidate selection. Second, it examines whether parties with bureaucratized selection procedures are better at implementing legally mandated candidate quotas than other parties. We measure implementation as the number of women candidates and women elected (the latter measuring implementation of the spirit of quota laws). Using unique data on almost 100 Latin American parties, the analysis shows that once quotas are in place, parties with bureaucratized selection procedures put substantially more women on their candidate lists than other parties. However, these parties are only better at implementing the letter of the law: they do not get more women elected.

Erica S. Simmons, Corn, Markets, and Mobilization in Mexico

In January 2007, Mexicans filled the Zócalo in Mexico City to express opposition to rising corn prices and corn imports. Consumers and producers, middle class and campesinos united in the streets to demand access to affordable, explicitly Mexican corn. This article explains the cooperation across class and sectoral lines in the Mexican tortillazo protests by focusing on the meanings corn takes on in the Mexican context. When individuals imagined that they or other Mexicans might not be able to consume a good at the center of daily life and imaginings of nation, they reached across established divides and took to the streets. These insights suggest that to understand responses to markets we need to incorporate the meanings that marketization takes on in our analyses.

Volume 48, Number 2, January 2016

Jens Rudbeck, Erica Mukherjee, and Kelly Nelson, When Autocratic Regimes Are Cheap and Play Dirty: The Transaction Costs of Repression in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt

Why do autocratic regimes use paramilitary groups, death squads, vigilantes, gangs, and other types of irregular, non-state actors to suppress popular opposition movements? We argue that the use of this type of state repression is a way for political leaders to lower the transaction costs of repression. Contrary to the use of regular security forces, which may trigger a host of consequences ranging from international economic sanctions to strikes and boycotts, irregular non-state violence specialists constitute an alternative governance structure for repression that, potentially, is less costly to elites. To substantiate this argument, the article investigates the use of informal violence to suppress opposition movements in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt. It demonstrates how repression was shaped by the transaction costs that political leaders were confronting.

Terrence Lyons, The Importance of Winning: Victorious Insurgent Groups and Authoritarian Politics

What is the relationship between how a war ends and the post-war political order? Civil wars that end in rebel victory follow distinct war-to-peace transitions compared to the more often analyzed cases of negotiated settlement and internationally supported peacebuilding. When one side wins, the victors shape the post-war political order, not the international community. In the cases of Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, the insurgents used the war-to-peace transition to transform their military institutions into authoritarian political parties and to consolidate power. It is not surprising that the winning military party becomes the post-war ruling party, but it is less obvious why victorious insurgents so often become powerful authoritarian parties. This paper argues that the legacies of protracted civil war and the imperatives of the war-to-peace transitions following victory provide the mechanism that links victory by insurgents to the creation of strong authoritarian parties and will illustrate the argument with the cases of Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

Glen Biglaiser, Mandate and the Market: Policy Outcomes under the Left in Latin America

Over the past fifteen years, Latin America has seen a wave of leftist governments take office with some leaders increasing the state’s role in the economy, while others continue and even intensify market-oriented reforms. Building on the concept of mandates in the American politics literature, and supplemented by personal interviews conducted with Latin American policymakers and empirical work, I argue that whether leftist presidents implement policies away from the market depends on their margin of electoral victory combined with whether the president’s party holds a majority of seats in the legislature. As much American politics work shows, presidents that win elections by landslides are better able to claim a mandate. However, the capacity of presidents to convert massive victories into policy change also requires control of the legislature by the president’s party.

Katherine Bersch, The Merits of Problem-Solving over Powering: Governance Reforms in Brazil and Argentina

Scholars of governance reforms in developing countries often argue that the surest way to address corruption, cronyism, inefficiency, and red tape is swift, dramatic change enacted by political leaders during moments of upheaval (i.e., “powering” reforms). This research finds that a very different type of change is not only possible but also more effective and enduring. A comparison of attempts to increase accountability, transparency, and institutional strength in Brazil and Argentina demonstrates that incremental changes sequenced over time in response to failings in previous policy (i.e., “problem-solving” reforms) provide two crucial advantages over powering’s wholesale and rapid overhauls of the state: (1) continual adjustments and modifications benefit from learning; and (2) an incremental approach makes reform more durable and helps preserve bureaucratic autonomy.

Eric M. Uslaner and Bo Rothstein, The Historical Roots of Corruption: State Building, Economic Inequality, and Mass Education

We show a link between levels of mass education in 1870 and corruption levels in 2010 for seventy-eight countries that remains strong when controlling for change in the level of education, GDP/ capita, and democracy. A model for the causal mechanism between universal education and control of corruption is presented. Early introduction of universal education is linked to levels of economic equality and to efforts to increase state capacity. First, societies with more equal education gave citizens more opportunities and power for opposing corruption. Secondly, the need for increased state capacity was a strong motivation for the introduction of universal education in many countries. Strong states provided more education to their publics and such states were more common where economic disparities were initially smaller.

Jan H. Pierskalla, Splitting the Difference? The Politics of District Creation in Indonesia

What explains the patterns of local government proliferation in Indonesia? I argue that ethnic heterogeneity, paired with the political ability to lobby for boundary changes, explains territorial reform. Using data on Indonesian district splits from 2001 to 2012 and information at the district and sub-district levels, I provide evidence in support of these propositions. To further trace the logic of district splitting, the paper draws on census data, as well as information on local violent conflict, to show that newly created districts have higher levels of ethnic homogeneity and experience less political violence. These findings provide new and important insights to existing debates on optimal federalism and the emerging literature on the politics of administrative unit proliferation.

Fabrice Lehoucq, Review Essay, Does Nonviolence Work?

Chenoweth and Stephan’s award-winning book, Why Civil Resistance Works, boldly claims that political protest is more successful than armed conflict. This finding is novel in its design and innovative in its defense. This essay, however, suggests that civil disobedience fails just as often as violence in toppling authoritarian regimes. Moreover, my review of several important books on political protest, autocracy, and regime change concludes that the choices made by dictators shape whether the opposition remains peaceful or becomes violent. Deepening our understanding of democratization requires integrating the analysis of the nature and impact of political protest with the study of regimes, their dynamics, and how and when they split.