Journal of Comparative Politics

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Volume 50, Number 3, April 2018

Special Issue: Wither Russia? Twenty-Five Years After the Collapse of Communism

Kathryn Stoner, Introduction: Russia in Retrospect and in Prospect

Michael McFaul, Choosing Autocracy: Actors, Institutions, and Revolution in the Erosion of Russian Democracy

Russia’s present system of government did not result inevitably from historical structures, that is from cultural, geographic, or socio-economic inheritances from the Soviet or tsarist past. Russia’s hundreds of years of autocratic traditions made democratic consolidation in the 1990s harder, but not impossible. Rather, individual choices at pivotal moments in time pushed Russia towards a more autocratic path in the 2000s and then produced a reordering of preferences and power in favor of continuity with this new autocratic arrangement. Actors, not structures, were the drivers of these changes, first towards democracy and then away from it.

M. Steven Fish, What Has Russia Become?

What has Russia become? The regime is best characterized as a conservative populist autocracy. It eschews all transformational visions, be they restorative or progressive, while pursuing elite appropriation and reproduction of the political status quo as overriding aims. The ruler relies for legitimation on populist appeals to great power nationalism and traditional folk morality, but he eschews the ethnocentricity often found in populism of the right. His judicious populist politics and skillful campaign to centralize and concentrate power have helped forge a stable, popular autocracy that yields bounty for the ruler and his favorites. But the predatory economic model and the extraordinary personalization of authority create vulnerabilities that may jeopardize system’s durability.

Aleksandar Matovski, It’s the Stability, Stupid! How the Quest to Restore Order After the Soviet Collapse Shaped Russian Popular Opinion

This article argues that despite the chaos and uncertainty of the post-Soviet period, Russian political outlooks were highly coherent because they were driven by a near consensual desire to achieve greater stability. Based on over-time and cross-section dimensional analyses of a unique dataset of 418 surveys, covering the 1993–2011 period, I show that the popular obsession with restoring order facilitated the consolidation of authoritarianism in Russia. In particular, stability-centric outlooks structured political competition in ways that favored strong-armed incumbent behavior and fostered divisions and extremism among the opposition. These dynamics allowed Russia’s increasingly authoritarian regime to rule with minimal use of coercion and largely through the ballot box.

Henry E. Hale, How Crimea Pays: Media, Rallying ’Round the Flag, and Authoritarian Support

Contingent events, including the initiation of conflicts that trigger “rallying-’round-the-flag,” can generate long-lasting public support and hence stability for authoritarian regimes, yet such effects remain poorly understood. The present study builds on the core logic of leading explanations of rallying in democracies to develop theory on how rallying works in authoritarian contexts. Unpacking the surge in President Vladimir Putin’s popularity after Russia annexed Crimea, an original survey experiment finds that authoritarian rallying obtains partly through the activation of patriotic sentiment, but that, counterintuitively, the strongest rallying effects occur among those who watch the least television news. Potential sources of private information on the Crimea annexation’s costs—including negative personal economic experiences and usage of social media—significantly dampen its positive effect on support for Putin.

Hannah S. Chapman, Kyle L. Marquardt, Yoshiko M. Herrera, and Theodore P. Gerber, Xenophobia on the Rise? Temporal and Regional Trends in Xenophobic Attitudes in Russia

In this article we consider the trajectory of xenophobia in Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Using survey data from 1996, 2004, and 2012, we examine Russians’ negative attitudes toward seven outgroups over time. We also statistically analyze the degree to which correlates of xenophobia have changed between 1996 and 2012. We find that Muscovites have become more xenophobic toward many groups over time relative to residents of other regions. This change is particularly striking in comparison to 1996, when Muscovites were generally less xenophobic than residents of other regions. Finally, we find that a strong lack of confidence in Russian President Putin is associated with higher levels of xenophobia across time, complicating the perceived link between the Russian government and xenophobic sentiment.

Thomas F. Remington, Russian Economic Inequality in Comparative Perspective

This article considers Russian income inequality in relation to the trend toward rising inequality in the U.S. and in most parts of the world. Income and wealth inequality in Russia has been rising except in periods when the economy is in recession, and wealth inequality in Russia is now highest in the world. The analysis shows that inequality trends in Russia share some characteristics with other developed and developing economies, including technological change, increased integration in the global economy, and the capitalization of rent streams. Financialization and dependence on natural resource extraction contribute strongly to both cross-sectional and cross-regional inequality in Russia. The absence of institutions for aggregating broad competing social interests—whether corporatist or partisan—restricts the capacity of the political system to set agreed rules governing the distribution of the burdens and benefits of economic growth. As in other political systems, both democratic and authoritarian, high inequality undermines the state’s ability to provide public goods that would contribute both to inclusive economic growth and a growing middle class.

Natalia Forrat, Shock-Resistant Authoritarianism: Schoolteachers and Infrastructural State Capacity in Putin’s Russia

This article uses the case of the 2012 presidential election in Russia to reveal a new mechanism of authoritarian resilience, which it calls infrastructural. This mechanism complements the currently dominant explanation of authoritarian resilience focused on material redistribution. The article argues that public sector organizations may significantly increase the ability of an autocrat to implement political decisions on the ground. This mechanism can partially explain Vladimir Putin’s strong performance at the 2012 election, which was achieved through the engagement of schoolteachers, who frequently served as members of precinct-level electoral commissions, in agitation and electoral fraud. The article finds that if the factors contributing to the pressure on teachers were eliminated, Vladimir Putin might not have won the election in the first round.

Sergey Sanovich, Denis Stukal, and Joshua A. Tucker, Turning the Virtual Tables:
Government Strategies for Addressing Online Opposition with an Application to Russia

We introduce a novel classification of strategies employed by autocrats to combat online opposition generally, and opposition on social media in particular. Our classification distinguishes both online from offline responses and censorship from engaging in opinion formation. For each of the three options—offline action, technical restrictions on access to content, and online engagement—we provide a detailed account for the evolution of Russian government strategy since 2000. To illustrate the feasibility of researching online engagement, we construct and assess tools for detecting the activity of political “bots,” or algorithmically controlled accounts, on Russian political Twitter, and test these methods on a large dataset of politically relevant Twitter data from Russia gathered over a year and a half.

Timothy J. Colton, Regimeness, Hybridity, and Russian System Building as an Educative Project

Political scientists often consider post-Soviet Russia, as well as sundry of its Eurasian neighbors, to be governed by a “hybrid” regime that somehow marries elements of democracy and autocracy. Although this approach garners less than unanimous support, I argue that it is the best starting place for inquiry. For the hybridity paradigm to be of maximum use, however, we need more of a conversation about its theoretical underpinnings and empirical manifestations. The present essay takes up these matters with reference to the Russian experience since 1991. I urge scholars to apply a pair of criteria for what constitutes a political regime and pay more attention to what we mean by a hybrid regime and to its actual, observable components. When it comes expressly to Russia in the Putin years, I argue for the importance of the educative aspect of erecting the hybrid system.

Volume 50, Number 2, January 2018

Fabián A. Borges, Neoliberalism with a Human Face? Ideology and the Diffusion of Latin America’s Conditional Cash Transfers

This article challenges the view that Latin America’s “left turn” was not associated with the adoption of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs. It is shown that the left initially opposed CCTs, but changed its view after Brazil’s center-left President “Lula” da Silva reluctantly embraced and adapted the CCTs he inherited to emphasize poverty reduction over building human capital. Only once this new model of CCT was developed did the left elsewhere in the region support and adopt CCTs. Thus, ideology did influence the spread of CCTs. Ideology’s impact was, however, conditional on the type of CCT being considered, and the diffusion of CCTs was mediated through ideology. This is supported by research on left-party attitudes, the design of ten programs, and three country case studies.

Sandra Botero, Judges, Litigants, and the Politics of Rights Enforcement in Argentina

Under what conditions can courts produce political and social change? My claim is that courts can be most consequential when they act in concert with other actors to create political spaces for ongoing discussion and engagement with regard to rights. In explaining judicial impact, I focus on the novel and understudied oversight mechanisms—like follow-up committees and public hearings—that some assertive high courts deploy to monitor adherence to some of their rulings. The analysis is based on comparative case studies of two landmark socioeconomic rights cases handed down by the Argentine Supreme Court. I show that the deployment of oversight mechanisms can create institutional spaces where the court, elected leaders, and private and civil society actors converge to generate change, resulting in greater impact.

Michael Wahman and Catherine Boone, Captured Countryside? Stability and Change in Sub-National Support for African Incumbent Parties

We analyze geographic dimensions of African voting to suggest that the salience of previous explanations of vote choice, including clientelism, performance evaluation, and local strong-arming varies across different types of constituencies. Analysis of Government-to-Opposition Swing (GOS) voting in seven countries over time reveals that GOS varies not only across the urban-rural divide but also across different types of rural constituencies. While GOS is uncommon in rural parts of the president’s home region, we discover significant variation across other types of rural constituencies: GOS is most likely in densely-populated rural constituencies and less likely in sparsely-populated rural constituencies that are often among the poorest in the country. We infer that political and economic geography shapes prospects for autonomous vote choice, performance voting, and quality of democracy.

Catherine Lena Kelly, Party Proliferation and Trajectories of Opposition: Comparative Analysis from Senegal

Over thirty years after Africa’s “democratic experiments,” the number of registered political parties in many countries continues to multiply, and few such parties oppose incumbents throughout a presidency. These patterns challenge theories predicting that parties with poor electoral performance will disappear and that many remaining parties will rival those in government by staying outside of the president’s electoral coalitions. Analysis of original data from elite interviews and archival research in Senegal shows that on an uneven playing field, most party leaders are primarily concerned with negotiating patronage; few are regular vote-seekers and fewer consistently oppose the ruling party in elections. Party leaders rely on personal resources for party-building and rarely possess the endowments that facilitate consistent opposition: experience as state administrators and international private financing.

Natalie Wenzell Letsa and Martha Wilfahrt, Popular Support for Democracy in Autocratic Regimes: A Micro-Level Analysis of Preferences

Scholarly opinions diverge as to which citizens in autocratic regimes actually prefer democracy to the status quo. While some argue that citizens with higher levels of socioeconomic status are more likely to prefer democracy because they desire political equality, others argue that the poor should prefer democracy most because they will have more relative power to affect redistributive policies. Analyzing public opinion data for tens of thousands of respondents living in autocracies around the world, we show that all types of citizens in authoritarian countries—rich and poor alike—prefer democracy to autocratic rule. Drawing on two case studies, we also show that political and economic factors are more likely to mobilize different types of people to protest for democracy.

Frank C. Thames, The Electoral System and Women’s Legislative Underrepresentation in Post-Communist Ukraine

In comparison with the global average of democracies, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, remains well below average in terms of women’s legislative representation. This article attempts to explain Ukraine’s poor record by examining the impact of different electoral systems. Since the first post-Communist election in 1994, Ukraine has used three different electoral systems: majoritarian SMD, MMM, and closed-list PR. By examining the impact of these different systems on women’s representation, we can test for the effect of different institutions on representation while holding political culture constant. The empirical results find that PR systems consistently nominated and elected more women than did the SMD systems. In addition, there is little evidence of gender bias among voters against female candidates in either PR or SMD elections.

Sarah E. Parkinson and Sherry Zaks, Review Article, Militant and Rebel Organization(s)

An emerging trend in research on militant groups asks how structures, dynamics, and relationships within these organizations influence key wartime and postwar outcomes. While the analytical pivot toward organizations advances the field in essential ways, scholars still lack a unified conceptual approach to organization-centric analyses of militancy. This article distills four key dimensions for analysis from organizational sociology: roles, relations, behaviors, and goals. It then reviews four new works on militant organizations and outlines their place in this emergent research trajectory. These books, we argue, underscore how situating research at the organizational level sheds new light on political outcomes such as rebel resilience, social service provision, and deployment of violence. We then highlight two related and promising organizational research agendas for future studies.

Volume 50, Number 1, October 2017

Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Loyalty Premiums: Vote Prices and Political Support in a Dominant-Party Regime

While electoral clientelism is common, we know little about what determines vote prices, which often vary significantly within country-elections. Extant literature offers differing predictions of whether supporters of the incumbent or outsiders receive higher-value outlays. I expect past supporters of the incumbent charge higher prices, as their ability to threaten defection helps them extract “loyalty premiums.” Further, incumbent-allied brokers will seek to provide higher payments to followers, to maintain their own networks, while parties will be loath to make high-value payments to outsiders, which might only encourage opponents’ turnout. Analyzing original panel data from Uganda, I find that ruling-party affiliates’ reports of vote prices are significantly higher than others’, suggesting that electoral clientelist strategies reward loyalty, at least in non-competitive settings.

Eun Kyung Kim, Party Strategy in Multidimensional Competition in Africa: The Example of Zambia

Just as voters have ethnic identities, they also have economic interests. Government policies create winners and losers, favoring some economic groups or sectors and disfavoring others. And to the extent that economic interests divide populations into different blocs as ethnic identities do, politicians have options for building coalitions. Using the example of Zambia, I show that the recipes for successful coalition building have varied from election to election, and that shifting bases of partisan competition eventually brought about party turnover in power. With a demonstration of multidimensional party strategies, a clear contribution of the work lies in enhancing our ability to explain partisan change and alternation in power, despite a static ethnic map.

Caroline Beer, Making Abortion Laws in Mexico: Salience and Autonomy in the Policymaking Process

What explains the changing policymaking process for abortion law in Mexico over the past century? From the 1930s until the 1970s, abortion laws across the thirty-two federal entities in Mexico were nearly identical. Between 1979 and 1987, almost half of the states liberalized abortion laws, but very little attention was paid to the reforms. Abortion suddenly emerged as a central polarizing conflict in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential elections that ushered in multiparty democracy. This article provides a comparative analysis of criminal codes and abortion law through time and across the Mexican states. It builds on the theoretical insights of U.S. public policy research on federalism and Mexican research on policymaking to present a comparative framework for understanding policymaking in federal systems. The article argues that policy salience and policy autonomy are key variables for understanding different types of policymaking processes.

David A. Steinberg, Interest Group Pressures and Currency Crises: Argentina in Comparative Perspective

This article develops and tests a political-economy explanation for the most common type of financial crisis: a currency crisis. I argue that currency crises often reflect pressures from powerful interest groups to adopt unsustainable financial policies that generate short-term booms followed by painful currency crises. To test the theory, this article uses a multi-method research design that combines cross-national statistical analyses with a case study of Argentina that draws on extensive primary sources. The quantitative analyses demonstrate that currency crises are more likely in countries with organized labor movements and large industrial sectors, and that imprudent financial policies are an important channel through which interest groups contribute to currency crises. The case study shows that Argentine policymakers adopted crisis-prone policies in response to pressures from the country’s powerful industrialists and labor unions. These findings suggest that interest group pressures help explain why currency crises are so common.

Jody LaPorte, Foreign versus Domestic Bribery: Explaining Repression in Kleptocratic Regimes

This article investigates variation in the governing strategies of wealth-seeking autocrats. Why do some kleptocrats grant political opponents significant leeway to organize, while others enforce strict limits on such activities? Through detailed analysis of post-Soviet Georgia and Kazakhstan, I trace variation in the intensity of repression back to differences in the sources of rulers’ illegal wealth. I argue that where rulers’ wealth is accumulated from society, they are constrained in their treatment of wealthy opposition leaders. In contrast, rulers who can extract bribes from foreign companies based on natural resource wealth can pursue aggressive repression without jeopardizing their illicit profits. The findings underscore the importance of rulers’ motives and informal institutions in shaping non-democratic regime outcomes.

Lawrence P. Markowitz, Beyond Kompromat: Coercion, Corruption, and Deterred Defection in Uzbekistan

Kompromat, or compromising material used against political elites, is widely considered to be essential in shoring up authoritarian durability. While it is useful in preempting or penalizing individual challengers, however, kompromat is a highly targeted and selective tool that does little to deter widespread elite defection in authoritarian regimes in the middle of a crisis. Instead, where autocrats have previously contracted on violence—coopted security for their use in repression—ruler concessions concentrate rent seeking under the national executive, creating winner-take-all stakes that makes defection prohibitively risky. Through the example of Uzbekistan’s regime durability during the 2005 Andijan uprising, this article examines the effect of this political economy of coercion on deterring elite defection.

Nicholas Rush Smith, Review Article, The Rule of Rights: Comparative Lessons from Twenty Years of South African Democracy

Reviewing four books on South African politics, this article explains outsize scholarly interest in South Africa by referencing contradictions of its democratic transition—contradictions that provide generalizable insights on democratization, law, and rights. Broadly, the literature suggests that rights form the foundation of robust democracies by stabilizing political systems, reducing violence, and lessening inequality. By contrast, proliferating rights in South Africa have had contradictory effects and, unexpectedly, enable political disorder. Ordinary citizens use South Africa’s expansive rights guarantees to make claims for greater social justice. Yet, citizens also use contrasting meanings of rights to justify violence against others, particularly foreigners. To explain these contradictory usages of rights, the article advances a meaning-making approach to the study of rights.

Volume 49, Number 4, July 2017

Jorge Antonio Alves and Wendy Hunter, From Right to Left in Brazil’s Northeast: Transformation, or “Politics as Usual”?

How does political change occur in subnational units of federal systems? Long under conservative rule, Brazil’s state of Bahia has experienced the recent electoral rise of the Workers’ Party (PT). How has the left party wrested control from the right? Challenging previous studies, which focus on establishing new organizational networks, we emphasize the traditional leveraging of linkages to higher levels of government and forging of pragmatic alliances. Marked parallels between PT strategies in contemporary Bahia and those of the old political machine suggest the pursuit of a territorially segmented strategy to penetrate different subnational units. The PT, which had hoped to transform the existing system, was instead changed by it. Segmentation allowed the PT to win office but at the cost of its transformational project.

Laura Gamboa, Opposition at the Margins: Strategies against the Erosion of Democracy in Colombia and Venezuela

This article argues that the goals and strategies the opposition uses against presidents with hegemonic aspirations are critical to understand why some leaders successfully erode democracy, while others fail. Using interviews and archival research, I trace the dynamics of erosion in Alvaro Uribe’s (Colombia) and Hugo Chávez’s (Venezuela) administrations. I show that during the first years of these governments, the opposition in both countries had some institutional leverage. The Colombian opposition used that leverage. It resorted to institutional and moderate extra-institutional strategies, which protected its institutional resources and allowed it to eventually stop Uribe’s second reelection reform. The Venezuelan opposition forsook that leverage and chose radical extra-institutional strategies instead. The latter cost it the institutional resources it had and helped Chávez advance more radical reforms.

Veronica Herrera, From Participatory Promises to Partisan Capture: Local Democratic Transitions and Mexican Water Politics

Scholarship on participatory institutions has emphasized participatory institutional uptake, but not their long-term sustainability. Through an analysis of citizen water boards in two Mexican cities, this article presents a causal pathway argument from pluralism to partisan capture. This article argues that support for participatory institutions is high for opposition parties who have historically been locked out of power because participatory institutional change can help outsider parties undermine entrenched ties that benefit incumbent parties. However, when challenging parties become incumbents, their preferences for supporting participatory institutions may change as participatory service delivery institutions become venues for dissent as well as represent political spoils that can be used to consolidate party control. These findings reveal a disturbing tension between democratization and participatory institution building in Mexico and beyond.

Benjamin G. Bishin and Feryal M. Cherif, Women, Property Rights, and Islam

To what extent do conventional explanations of women’s rights, such as religion, culture, core rights, and advocacy, help to explain the status of women’s rights in Muslim majority countries? Religion and patriarchal culture are commonly cited to explain the persistence of gender inequality. While often overlooked, the study of property rights offers leverage for differentiating between religious and cultural explanations of women’s status given their different prescriptions regarding the acquisition and management of property. Examining developing and Muslim majority countries, we find that patriarchal norms, more so than religion, constitute the main barrier to gender equality. Further, we find that core rights like women’s access to education and, to a lesser degree, norms-building by women’s rights groups best explain where women enjoy effective property rights.

Alejandro Bonvecchi and Emilia Simison, Legislative Institutions and Performance in Authoritarian Regimes

The literature on authoritarian regimes assumes legislatures are inconsequential because dictators ultimately retain their hold on power. We challenge this assumption arguing that legislatures embedded in power-sharing arrangements are costly to ignore, their design affects lawmaking patterns, and they are more influential when executives are collective, rather than personal. We test these arguments on a case for which complete records exist: the Legislative Advisory Commission in Argentina’s last military dictatorship. Our findings show that the combination of tripartite power-sharing by the armed forces, a collective executive, shared legislative power, and decentralized agenda power led to higher rates of government legislative defeats and bill amendments than typical in authoritarian regimes. These findings support the theory that legislatures under authoritarianism are more influential when power-sharing arrangements include collective executives.

Michael Ahn Paarlberg, Transnational Militancy: Diaspora Influence over Electoral Activity in Latin America

Politicians in many countries campaign among citizens residing abroad, even though migrants have extremely low rates of participation or, in some cases, no right to vote at all. What benefit, then, does a foreign-residing, non-voting electorate provide parties? Politicians interviewed in Mexico, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic express belief that migrants influence the votes of relatives in their home countries by sending remittances. Using a series of hierarchical models, I test whether this is true, by estimating the effect of having U.S.-residing relatives on a set of seven political activities of Latin American voters. I find migrants do influence their relatives; however, this influence does not affect basic level voter participation, but rather reinforces existing partisan sympathies and motivates activities typical of party militants.

Jeremy Menchik, Review Article, The Constructivist Approach to Religion and World Politics

The new generation of scholarship on religion and world politics is moving beyond the flawed paradigms of the past. The author explains why classic secularization theory is widely doubted before evaluating books that represent the three approaches of the most recent research. The newest entry, the “constructivist” approach, is examined in depth; it draws on social theory and cultural anthropology to better theorize secularism as an analytical category and to explain how (religious) ideas and actors shape major political outcomes. The “revising secularization” approach modifies classic secularization theory. The “religious economies” approach marries rational choice with the economic sociology of religion. The author discusses the strengths and weaknesses of all three approaches while arguing against the search for a grand theory of religion.

Volume 49, Number 3, April 2017

Special Issue: Civil Society and Democracy in an Era of Inequality

Michael Bernhard, Tiago Fernandes, and Rui Branco, Introduction: Civil Society and Democracy in an Era of Inequality

Ekrem Karakoç, A Theory of Redistribution in New Democracies: Income Disparity in New Democracies in Europe

Why is it that new democracies have difficulty generating income equality? This article argues that low voter turnout and weak political party system institutionalization increase targeted spending. This in turn has an effect on income inequality because social spending rewards privileged social groups to the detriment of the disadvantaged. The argument is tested across six new and fifteen long-standing democracies in Europe using a panel-data analysis. It finds that low turnout by the poor and weak party institutionalization increase targeted spending, which in turn decreases economic equality. The analysis also finds that high voter turnout moderates the negative effect of electoral volatility on targeted spending.

Grzegorz Ekiert, Jan Kubik, and Michal Wenzel, Civil Society and Three Dimensions of Inequality in Post-1989 Poland

This article presents three novel arguments regarding the role of civil society in the democratic transformation of Poland. First, under communism, associational life was neither extinct nor always totally controlled by the state. Over time, some organizations achieved a modicum of autonomy. The massive Solidarity movement left a legacy of civic engagement that influenced post-1989 developments. Second, inequality under state socialism needs to be treated comprehensively. While the level of income inequality was modest, economic inequality was more pronounced (privileges of the communist elites). Civic and political inequalities were acute. All three forms of inequality generated discontent and mobilization. Third, after 1989, civil society has become an institutional vehicle for virtually eliminating political inequality, advancing civic equality, and controlling the growth of economic inequality.

Mark R. Beissinger, “Conventional” and “Virtual” Civil Societies in Autocratic Regimes

In recent years many non-democracies have witnessed the rapid growth of new social media that have, in a number of instances, become vehicles for civic activism, even in the presence of anemic “conventional” civil society association. Using evidence from Russia, Tunisia, Egypt, and Ukraine, this article explores the implications of “virtual” civil society for opposition politics in autocratic regimes. The rise of “virtual” civil society potentially presents autocratic regimes with new challenges for control over the streets. But a robust “virtual” civil society combined with a weak “conventional” civil society has a series of less positive consequences for oppositional politics, reinforcing weak political organization, breeding a false sense of representativeness, diluting collective identities within oppositions, and rendering mobilization over extended periods of time more difficult.

Michael Bernhard and Dong-Joon Jung, Civil Society and Income Inequality in Post-Communist Eurasia

This article argues that the strength of civil society at the point of extrication from communism is a powerful predictor of how “liberal democratic” post-communist regimes become. This is based on the impact that an engaged civil society has on the reconfiguration of post-communist elites and the degree to which the model of accumulation permits concentration of resources in the hands of previous elites. In cases where civil society was engaged at the moment of extrication, the elite were disposed to a more liberal model of capitalism which afforded greater social welfare protection. Where civil society was weaker, the elite were able to convert political power into concentrated control of economic assets and a more predatory and inegalitarian model of political capitalism emerged.

Robert M. Fishman, How Civil Society Matters in Democratization: Setting the Boundaries of Post-Transition Political Inclusion

This article offers a new perspective on how civil society matters in democratization, arguing that its impact is felt long after the end of regime transition. Whereas some analyses focus exclusively on the organizational impact of institutionalized actors, this article also examines the significance of social movement protest and argues that the cultural legacies of civil society’s transition-era role help to determine whether organizationally weak and resource-poor actors will be able to gain a hearing in new democracies. Although the objectives of this article are fundamentally theoretical, it builds empirically on the strategically chosen paired comparison of Portugal and Spain, two countries that moved from authoritarianism to democracy through polar opposite pathways.

Tiago Fernandes and Rui Branco, Long-Term Effects: Social Revolution and Civil Society in Portugal, 1974–2010

Do democratic social revolutions strengthen civil society in the long-run? We answer this question by comparing the trajectories of three civil society sectors (social welfare organizations, neighborhood associations, and unions) in democratic Portugal. We argue that the degree of inclusiveness of the institutions of the previous authoritarian regime shaped the type of revolutionary elites available for alliances with civil society during the revolutionary crisis. More inclusionary authoritarian institutions promoted the emergence of a more pluralistic opposition to the dictatorship, thus generating future revolutionary leaderships prone to empowering emerging popular civil society organizations. Inversely, exclusionary and repressive institutions spawned a narrow and secretive opposition and subsequent revolutionary elite bent on hierarchical top-down control thereby disempowering civil society in the long-run.