Prospective Thesis Topic: Political Dynamics in Autocratic Regimes

We are interested in MA theses that explore topics on autocratic politics. We are especially encourage projects that look at economic policies in autocratic regimes, mass protest movements, autocratization, political careers in autocracies, and/or judicial systems in non-democratic regimes. We especially encourage projects with a large-N approach, for instance by comparing economic policies or mass protests within or across countries.

There are three projects related to this topic:

ELITE is divided between three areas of interest. First, we will study the interaction among members of parliament and the executive branch. Second, we will study the strategic interaction between judges and politicians. Third, we will study the effect of elite competition on human development.

ELDAR will investigate three aspects of autocratic politics: 1) the emergence of autocratic regimes; 2) policy-making ("life") in autocracies in the areas of education, infrastructure and industrial policies, social policies and media regulation; and 3) autocratic regime breakdown. In doing so, ELDAR will address the preferences and capacities of vital actors in autocratic politics - the leader, regime support groups, and mobilized opposition groups. Team members will also study the specific, and diverse, institutions that underpin autocratic regimes.

MoDe will analyze why particular social groups, for example students, land-owners, the military or industrial workers, mobilize to support or oppose a non-democratic regime. It will moreover examine how the composition of the coalitions that mobilize for or against the autocratic regime influence the likelihood of democratization; the risk of violence during the transition; the type of institutions implemented in the new regime; and the long-term prospect for democratic consolidation.

We also encourage students interested in the project, but with other research questions and/or methodological approaches to apply.

MoDe (



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