Neophytos Loizides and Iosif Kovras, “The Greek Debt Crisis and Southern Europe: Majoritarian Pitfalls?”

Although widely debated in broader socioeconomic terms, the Eurozone crisis has not received yet adequate scholarly attention with regard to the impact of alternative political systems. This article revisits the debate on majoritarian and consensus democracies drawing on recent evidence from the Eurozone debacle. Greece is particularly interesting both with regard to its potential “global spillover effects” and choice of a majoritarian political system. Despite facing comparable challenges as Portugal and Spain, the country has become polarized socially and politically, seeing a record number of MP defections, electoral volatility and the rise of the militant extreme right. The article points to the role of majoritarian institutions to explain why Greece entered the global financial crisis in the most vulnerable position while subsequently faced insurmountable political and institutional obstacles in its management.

Yuen Yuen Ang, “Authoritarian Restraints on Online Activism Revisited: Why 'I-Paid-A-Bribe' Worked in India but Failed in China”

Authoritarian states restrain online activism not only through repression and censorship, but also by indirectly weakening the ability of netizens to self-govern and constructively engage the state. I demonstrate this argument by comparing I-Paid-A-Bribe (IPAB)—a crowd-sourcing platform that collects anonymous reports of petty bribery—in India and China. Whereas IPAB originated and has thrived in India, a copycat effort in China fizzled out within months. Contrary to those who attribute China’s failed outcome only to repression, I find that even before authorities shut down IPAB, the sites were already plagued by internal organizational problems that were comparatively absent in India. The study tempers expectations about the revolutionary effects of new media in mobilizing contention and checking corruption in the absence of a strong civil society.

S. Erdem Aytaç and Ziya Öniş, “Varieties of Populism in a Changing Global Context: The Divergent Paths of Erdogan and Kirchnerismo”

While the literature on populism is rich on specifying the characteristics of populist movements that distinguishes them from non-populists, much less attention has been paid on distinguishing between different types of populist movements. In this article we highlight and account for divergent trajectories of populist practice in two major emerging economies—Argentina and Turkey. We stress that both the Kirchner governments of Argentina and the Erdoğan governments of Turkey closely fit to the populist pattern of rule, yet a close analysis of their policies suggests a left-wing type of populism in Argentina and a right-wing type in Turkey. Beyond identifying divergent strands of populism in two national contexts, we also explain the mix of domestic and external factors that accounts for this contrasting pattern.

Chappell Lawson and Kenneth F. Greene, “Making Clientelism Work: How Norms of Reciprocity Increase Voter Compliance”

Recent research on clientelism focuses on mercenary exchanges between voters and brokers. In this “instrumentalist” view, machine politics is only sustainable where patrons can punish clients for defection—a situation that does not apply in many places known for clientelism. We build a different theory of clientelism around the norm of reciprocity. If exchanges rely on clients’ feelings of obligation to return favors to their patrons, then clientelism can be sustained even where the ballot is genuinely secret. To support this argument, we draw on a range of research, including a series of split-sample experiments embedded in two surveys on Mexico specifically focused on reciprocity. Our findings have implications for voting behavior, party organization, and the types of public policies that may prevent clientelism.

Paula Muñoz, “An Informational Theory of Campaign Clientelism: The Case of Peru”

While electoral clientelism has been studied from very different theoretical perspectives and angles, scholars typically emphasize the importance of organized networks and long-term relations for sustaining it. However, electoral clientelism continues to be widespread in many countries despite the absence of organized parties or electoral machines. In order to solve this puzzle, I propose an informational approach that stresses the indirect effects on electoral outcomes that early investments in electoral clientelism have. I argue that clientelism during campaigns is crucial for signaling candidates’ electoral viability. Politicians buy the participation of poor voters at campaign events. By turning out large numbers of people at rallies, candidates establish and demonstrate their electoral prospects to the media, donors, activists, and voters. Evidence from Peru supports these expectations.

Paul Staniland, Review Essay, “Violence and Democracy”

Elections are standard practice in most of the world. Yet the rise of elections has not banished violent conflict; instead, they often co-exist. This review essay evaluates three recent books on electoral violence, and puts them in dialogue with previous research. It makes two arguments. First, electoral violence has been poorly conceptualized, undermining theoretical and empirical progress. The article provides a new typology of the varieties of electoral violence to guide future work. Second, an exciting new research frontier is explaining the consequences of electoral violence. From state building to patronage politics, electoral violence deserves a more central place in the study of the politics. Improving our understanding of electoral violence is crucial because the central challenge of contemporary democratization is transforming formal electoral processes into meaningful political participation free of the shadow of the gun.