Current scholarship on elections in authoritarian regimes has focused on exploring the relationship between elections and democratization, and it has generally used analytical frameworks and methods imported from the study of genuinely democratic elections to do so. These tendencies have kept scholars from asking a wide range of questions about the micro-level dynamics of authoritarian elections and the systematic differences among them. With these issues in mind, this review examines literature that investigates the purpose of elections in dictatorships; the electoral behavior of voters, candidates, and incumbents in these elections; and the link between elections and democratization. The review ends with a call to redirect the study of authoritarian elections toward uncovering and explaining the important differences among them.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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