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Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes


Part of Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy

Tom Ginsburg, Alberto Simpser, Adam Przeworski, Mark Tushnet, Michael Albertus, Victor Menaldo, Gabriel Negretto, Kristen Stilt, Zachary Elkins, James Melton, David S. Law, Mila Versteeg, Jennifer Gandhi, Henry E. Hale, He Xin
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  • Date Published: April 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107663947

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About the Authors
  • Constitutions in authoritarian regimes are often denigrated as meaningless exercises in political theater. Yet the burgeoning literature on authoritarian regimes more broadly has produced a wealth of insights into particular institutions such as legislatures, courts and elections; into regime practices such as co-optation and repression; and into non-democratic sources of accountability. In this vein, this volume explores the form and function of constitutions in countries without the fully articulated institutions of limited government. The chapters utilize a wide range of methods and focus on a broad set of cases, representing many different types of authoritarian regimes. The book offers an exploration into the constitutions of authoritarian regimes, generating broader insights into the study of constitutions and their functions more generally.

    • Book adds to the growing literature on authoritarianism and hybrid regimes
    • Includes a number of mixed research methods and case studies on Egypt and China
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107663947
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 18 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Tom Ginsburg and Alberto Simpser
    Part I. The Category:
    2. Ruling against rules Adam Przeworski
    3. Authoritarian constitutionalism: some conceptual considerations Mark Tushnet
    Part II. Constitutional Design in Authoritarian Regimes:
    4. The political economy of autocratic constitutions Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo
    5. Authoritarian constitution making: the role of the military in Latin America Gabriel Negretto
    6. Constitutions in authoritarian regimes: the Egyptian constitution of 1971 Kristen Stilt
    Part III. Contents of Authoritarian Constitutions:
    7. The content of authoritarian constitutions Tom Ginsburg, Zachary Elkins and James Melton
    8. Constitutional variation among strains of authoritarianism David S. Law and Mila Versteeg
    Part IV. Consequences of Authoritarian Constitutions:
    9. The role of presidential power in authoritarian elections Jennifer Gandhi
    10. The informal politics of formal constitutions: rethinking the effects of 'presidentialism' and 'parliamentarism' in the cases of Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ukraine Henry E. Hale
    11. The Party's leadership as a living constitution in China He Xin.

  • Editors

    Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago
    Tom Ginsburg is the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, where he also holds an appointment in the Political Science Department. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. He holds BA, JD and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an NSF-funded data set cataloging the world's constitutions since 1789. His recent co-authored book, The Endurance of National Constitutions (2009), won the best book award from the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association. His other books include Judicial Review in New Democracies (2003), Administrative Law and Governance in Asia (2008), Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (with Tamir Moustafa, 2008) and Comparative Constitutional Law (with Rosalind Dixon, 2011). Before entering law teaching, he served as a legal advisor at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, The Hague, The Netherlands, and he has consulted with numerous international development agencies and governments on legal and constitutional reform.

    Alberto Simpser, University of Chicago
    Alberto Simpser is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the topics of electoral manipulation, election monitoring, mechanisms of authoritarian political control, redistributive spending, subnational governance, and corruption. His book, Why Parties and Governments Manipulate Elections: Theory, Practice, and Implications (2013), is a comparative study of the incentives underpinning electoral manipulation, with broad regional focus. Professor Simpser has been Research Fellow at the Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University, and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He holds a BSc from Harvard College, and a PhD in political science and an MA in economics from Stanford University.


    Tom Ginsburg, Alberto Simpser, Adam Przeworski, Mark Tushnet, Michael Albertus, Victor Menaldo, Gabriel Negretto, Kristen Stilt, Zachary Elkins, James Melton, David S. Law, Mila Versteeg, Jennifer Gandhi, Henry E. Hale, He Xin

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