Endogenous Institutions and Constitutional Manipulation in Dictatorships

Much of the existing comparative dictatorships literature is concerned with the effects of authoritarian institutions on survival. Given the existing difficulties of the identification of the possible effects of institutions, this paper instead turns to understand the circumstances under which authoritarian institutions emerge. Specifically, it offers the first systematic analysis of endogenous bicameralism.  What makes non-democracies switch from unicameralism to bicameralism? Bicameralism may serve as a means of post-conflict reconciliation or control of the legislature when the opposition gains seats in the lower chamber, and the paper finds support for these arguments. However, I also propose a novel explanation centered on the problem of constitutional reform legitimation and in masking the extension of presidential term limits, among other reforms. The findings indicate that nondemocratic institutions are not only coordination devices to co-opt rivals or credibly commit to supporters and that their adoption may be driven by a different, often idiosyncratic logic that depends on specific circumstances. The talk will also be concerned with the general implications for the study of authoritarian institutions such as the difficulties presented by the so-called endogeneity and functionality concerns over non-democratic institutions in comparative research. 

About the presenter:

Dr Alexander Baturo, Associate Professor of Government, Dublin City University, is engaged in research addressing global challenges including the study of dictatorships and leadership. His work appeared in the Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly and Public Choice. His book, Democracy, Dictatorship, and Term Limits, was published by the Michigan University Press in 2014 and he is a co-editor of the Politics of Presidential Term Limits, 2019, Oxford UP. His work has significant societal impact and has been cited, inter alia, in the Washington Post and Tages Anzeiger. In the past, Alexander held visiting fellowships at the University of Leiden, Essex University and the Perry World House of the University of Pennsylvania. He is committed to policy and worked in the past for the Freedom House and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Date & time

Thu 28 Mar 2019, 12–2pm


LJ Hume Centre, Copland Building, ANU


Dr Alexander Baturo


Feodor Snagovsky


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