Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Dag Tanneberg

Dag Tanneberg

BGSS Generation 2012



Why do single-parties fail? The persistence of authoritarian one-party rule under scrutiny



Beginning with Barbara Geddes' seminal article single-party regimes sparked widespread interest among scholars of comparative authoritarianism. Since 1999 study after study came up with the same result: Compared across types of autocracy single-party regimes persist longer on average. However, until today the tremendous variance of regime persistence within the single-party subset remained largely unexplored. Hence, this project embarks to explain the breakdown of one-party rule in order to gain more inside on the institutional mechanics of this particular type of authoritarianism. Why do some single-party regimes breakdown quickly, while others survive for decades? This question is approached with an explicit focus on the behavior of party elites which are assumed to constitute the central explanatory variable of regime persistence. Party elites may either engage in repression or attempt to win the loyalty of the population. The success of either behavioral strategy depends on the institutional setting of the regime as well as its socio-economic performance. Whenever party cadres fail to act in accordance to both parameters they build the ground for regime breakdown. This Ph.D. project relies on the tools of game-theory and event-history analysis to address the overarching question on a cross-national level.


Recent Publications

Edited Volumes

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser & Dag Tanneberg (2011), Populismus in Vergleichender Perspektive, in: Berliner Debatte Inital, 22(1).

Alexander Schmotz & Dag Tanneberg (2010), Autokratie Heute, in: Berliner Debatte Initial, 21(3).


Wolfgang Merkel & Johannes Gerschewski & Alexander Schmotz & Christoph Stefes & Dag Tanneberg (i.p.), Stabilität und Critical Junctures: Legitimation, Kooptation und Repression in Autokratien, in: Sonderheft PVS 47/2012: “Autokratien im Vergleich”.



University of Potsdam, Chair of Comparative Politics