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The Dictator’s Curse? Legacies of Authoritarian Ruling Parties

What are the consequences of authoritarian ruling parties? These parties are a frequent form of authoritarian rule, and when their regimes collapse, some are able to exit power peacefully, and even reinvent themselves as good democrats. Previous research has examined why some parties can successfully reinvent themselves and adapt to democracy. But less is known about the consequences of these strategies of exit and reinvention. This project examines the legacies of authoritarian party exit and transformation for subsequent democratic party competition and governance.

Global Populisms

Populist parties and politicians are surging in both developed and new democracies, prompting much analytical and popular concern.There are common concerns of populist movements: the challenge of immigration, the threat of a collapsing traditional labor market, and the perceived lack of elite responsiveness to these concerns. Yet populism takes very different forms, such as left-wing Latin American populism, or its nativist European counterparts. We thus need to know more about the diverse origins and expressions of populism.  This project examines why populism has taken such different guises over time and in different countries.  

Substitute and Strangle? How Religious Organizations Influence State Formation

Does the religious provision of education, health care, poverty programs, and defense strengthen developing states, or does it smother them at birth? What are the conditions under which religious substitution for the state help or hamper the growth of new states?  Non-state organizations provide public goods in settings such as Palestine, where such provision has been linked to the popularity of Hamas. But we know little about the impact of such provision on the state itself. This project looks at how Catholic and Protestant churches molded a well-known and fundamental episode of state formation: 15-17th century Europe.

A related project explores how the official pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the state, secular politics, and morality policy have changed over time.