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MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Elite Politics in Electoral Autocracies

Tildelt: kr 2,1 mill.






2024 - 2026


Elite Politics in Electoral Autocracies

Today most dictators exploit democratic institutions such as multiparty elections or legislatures to cover their autocratic rule. To carry out this form of rule, dictators need a loyal coalition of politicians to gather supporters, advance policies and win elections. While this loyalty is central to regime survival, elite divisions within authoritarian governments can induce political change. Yet, what type of divisions matter and whether such change will be democratizing are unclear. Defectors might have the resources to embolden pro-democracy groups, but they may also face repression, worsening democratization prospects. What type of divisions within the ruling elite can weaken modern autocracies? What are the mechanisms that underpin the relationship between defections and democratization? ELITE offers a new theoretical framework, innovative data, and empirical research to identify and explain the strains and disruptions within authoritarian governments that induce democratization. It develops a theory of the elite origins of regime (in)stability, focusing on divisions within the ruling elite. ELITE builds a novel dataset on political elites’ resources and dissent strategies in 28 prominent electoral autocracies—today's most common form of autocracy. Cutting-edge mixed methods test why and how elite divisions strengthen anti-regime groups and weaken leaders' tools to stay in power. Findings will inform academic and policy debates on the processes that weaken modern dictatorships. Dr. Adrián del Río Rodríguez has broad expertise on the topic of elite politics in autocracies and methodological skills to carry out the ELITE project. The Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, will host Dr. del Río, and Prof. Carl H. Knutsen–a top international scholar in autocratic politics—will supervise him. The hosting arrangements provide excellent opportunities for networking, training, and potential for research collaboration during the MSCA fellowship.


MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)