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Economic foundations of subnational authoritarianism: insights and evidence from qualitative and quantitative research

Sidel, John T. ORCID: 0000-0002-7230-8210 (2014) Economic foundations of subnational authoritarianism: insights and evidence from qualitative and quantitative research. Democratization, 21 (1). pp. 161-184. ISSN 1351-0347

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13510347.2012.725725


A growing body of subnational comparative research on democracy has focused attention on ‘subnational authoritarianism’, in tandem with increasing interest in local politics across the developing world. Unsurprisingly, this evolving field of study has been characterized by a diversity – if not a dichotomy – of approaches, with quantitative and qualitative research proceeding along parallel and sometimes intersecting tracks. But scholars working in diverse contexts and with diverging approaches have begun to converge on a set of explanations for the patterns of variance observed in subnational authoritarianism within and across national settings. Drawing on studies of Russia, the United States, southern Italy, Argentina and West Africa, this article shows how scholarship has identified the underlying economic foundations of subnational authoritarianism. Combining the findings of recent qualitative and quantitative studies with the author's own research in the Philippines, this article spells out a set of hypotheses which may help to explain patterns of variance in subnational authoritarianism. Variance in subnational authoritarianism, it is suggested, stems from varying local economic conditions and possibilities for accumulation and maintenance of control over local economies. Further ‘mapping’ of subnational authoritarianism thus requires local fieldwork to complement the strengths – and overcome the limitations – of quantitative research.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Government
International Relations
Asia Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 07 May 2013 15:41
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:07

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