Democratic Transitions and Authoritarian Persistence


Our fourth and final research area is devoted to democratic transitions and authoritarian persistence. Despite the unprecedented triumph of liberal democracy in the 20th century, authoritarian rulers still dominate many countries. The developments in Sudan after the fall of long-term dictator al-Bashir illustrate the challenges of democratization processes. The fall of a dictator does not necessarily lead to the establishment of functioning democratic institutions. In several projects, we analyze which factors influence whether democratization succeeds and under which circumstances autocrats can remain in power. Among other things, we investigate the role of mass mobilization and civil society in democratization processes and autocrats' responses to dissent. Furthermore, we are working on measuring democratization and autocratization processes to make these phenomena more amenable to quantitative analysis. Thereby, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the onset and outcome of regime transformations.

Main content

The Long Arm and the Iron Fist: Authoritarian Crackdowns and Transnational Repression
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier, Alexander Dukalskis, Saipira Furstenberg & Redmond Scales

Episodes of regime transformation
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier, Seraphine F. Maerz, Amanda B. Edgell, Matthew Wilson & Steffan Lindberg

Pathways to Democracy after Authoritarian Breakdown: Comparative Case Selection and Lessons from the Past
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier and Jean Lachapelle

Regime Transformation From Below: Mobilization for Democracy and Autocracy From 1900 to 2021
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier and Michael Bernhard

Pro-democracy movements in a comparative perspective
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier, Sonja Grimm, Jan Matti Dollbaum and Véronique Dudouet

State Concessions and Protest Duration in Authoritarian Regimes 
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier and Elena Leuschner

Tourism and the prospects of democratization
Researchers: Sebastian Hellmeier