Authoritarianism research has evolved into one of the fastest growing areas in comparative politics and political economy. However, the newly awakened interest in autocratic regimes goes hand in hand with a lack of systematic research on the results of the political and substantive policy performance of variants of autocratic regimes. In this article we introduce the individual contributions to this special issue and summarize their findings with regard to three core research questions: What are the differences between autocracies and democracies, as well as between different forms of authoritarian regimes, with regard to their outcome performance in selected policy fields? Does policy performance matter for the persistence of authoritarian rule? How can we conceptualize different types of autocratic regimes and do differences in the availability of performance data matter for the results of empirical studies comparing democracies and autocracies or different types of non-democratic regimes?.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Mark Beeson for the excellent cooperation and friendly exchanges in the preparation of this special issue. They also thank the authors and the anonymous reviewers for their energy and devotion to the project and are especially grateful for the financial support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in Cologne that allowed them to host a workshop at Heidelberg University in March 2012, for which most of the papers in this special issue were prepared. The discussions with Manfred G. Schmidt, Ronald Wintrobe, Steffen Kailitz, Jennifer Gandhi, Andreas Schedler, Jeffrey Pickering, Oliver Schlumberger, Julia Bader, Jörg Faust and Jeff Haynes at the workshop provided invaluable feedback and new perspectives on the ideas discussed in this issue. Their generous intellectual support is greatly appreciated.
- policy outcomes
- political performance
- regime persistence