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

Saara Inkinen

Saara Inkinen

BGSS Generation 2012



Structuring survival? Party systems, co-optation and the persistence of autocratic regimes



Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel



A growing literature now treats multiparty systems as an integral part of the survival strategy of autocratic rulers. In this line of thought, multiparty systems are understood as instruments of co-optation that promote autocratic durability by facilitating the encapsulation of regime opponents. While there is much evidence to support the view that multiparty systems link to autocratic survival through co-optation, the micro-logic of this causal chain remains under-theorised. In particular, little is known about the actual process of co-optative bargaining and how variation in the constellation of the parties might affect its outcomes and, ultimately, the prospects of regime survival.

In my PhD-dissertation, I aim at addressing this lacuna in the literature by seeking to answer the research question: ”What is the impact of the type of party system on the survival of autocratic regimes?”. Drawing on the logic of actor-centred institutionalism, I first propose a novel theory on how the nature of the party system structures co-optation as a bargaining game between regime and opposition parties, conditioning in this fashion the survival of the autocratic regime. In the subsequent sections of my dissertation, I test my theory in a nested research design on the universe of autocratic party systems in the post-World War II era.


Recent Publications

"Structuring political dynamics? Towards a theory of autocratic party systems", 5th Graduate Network Conference, London, Great Britain, March 25-27, 2013 (Conference Paper)