CES: Flawed by Design? Authoritarian Legacies under Democracy


Thursday, December 1, 2016, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, 27 Kirkland Street, Cambridge


** Please note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**


Michael Albertus

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago



Daniel Ziblatt

Professor of Government, Harvard University; Resident Faculty, CES, Harvard University; Faculty Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Faculty Associate, Institute of Quantitative Social Science




Many democracies are the product of a pact between outgoing elites and incoming political entrepreneurs. What, then, explains why some fledgling democracies are able to escape the institutional legacies they inherit from dictatorship while others remained trapped in patterns of former authoritarian elite dominance? We address this question through the lens of the maintenance or replacement of holdover constitutions from prior authoritarian rule. We argue that institutional changes are spearheaded by groups of economic elites that were excluded from the transition pact and stand to gain vis-à-vis their economic rivals from the elimination of authoritarian institutional legacies. While the book tests this argument using original data on constitutional legacies, redistribution, and the fate of former dictators, this chapter presents in detail the case of Sweden.