In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hybrid Regimes

  • Introduction
  • Seminal Contributions
  • General Overview
  • Causes of Emergence
  • Transition from Hybridity
  • Datasets on Political Regimes
  • Academic Publishing

Political Science Hybrid Regimes
Jean-François Gagné
  • LAST REVIEWED: 02 May 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 March 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0167


Hybrid regimes are found in most developing countries, especially since the end of the Cold War. They are called hybrid because they combine democratic traits (e.g., frequent and direct elections) with autocratic ones (e.g., political repression). To better understand this vast grey zone of institutional ambiguities, Typologies have been created in order to identify various institutional arrangements of hybrid regimes and how they differ from other types of regimes. The current annotated bibliography of literature on hybrid regime trajectories points to a logical sequence of scientific inquiry in the following three domains: Causes of Emergence, Conditions of Stability, and Transition from Hybridity. It is supported with proposed key readings for each. Also included are datasets, major journals, and university presses on the subject. The selection was largely driven by the criteria of originality and potential for generalization, leaving aside the question of iterated testing and idiographic research. The crosscutting from literature on authoritarian to democratic regimes is what makes hybrid regimes such a dynamic subject for generating new insights and innovative thinking toward a better understanding of political regimes in developing countries.

Seminal Contributions

Authors’ works in the field of political development, based on geographic considerations as well as the nature of regimes, are excellent aids to the process of thinking about hybrid regimes. The influential work Finer 1970, a comparative analysis of political regimes around the world, is essential to any students in the field. Almond and Coleman 1960 focuses on developing countries, Collier 1979 depicts the specifics of Latin American regimes, and Zolberg 1966 those of West Africa. Linz 2000, originally published in 1975, outlines types of nondemocratic regimes, and the same can be said about Perlmutter 1981. Huntington and Moore 1970 addresses the issue of single-party regimes. Hermet, et al. 1978 examines how elections unfold in these particular systems of representation. These authors promote alternative approaches to seeing political regimes in a polymorphous way by constructing new concepts that challenge the standard autocracy/democracy dichotomy. In doing so, without using the name, their works are precursors of the studies on hybrid regimes.

  • Almond, Gabriel A., and James S. Coleman, eds. The Politics of the Developing Areas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960.

    The editors survey the various polities in the southern hemisphere, emphasizing regional specificities. The conclusion includes a synthesis that exposes the diversity of political regimes—the majority being hybrid variants—and a diagnosis of which pivotal political group influences the agenda in each country’s regime.

  • Collier, David, ed. The New Authoritarianism in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979.

    Collier gathers Latin American specialists’ views regarding how the military and bureaucracy support the ruling elites by looking at the nature, origins, and trajectories of the bureaucratic-authoritarian model. It is about an authoritarian subtype also present in other regions such as Asia.

  • Finer, Samuel E. Comparative Government. London: Penguin, 1970.

    Presents a systematic way to analyze Third World states, liberal democracies (the United Kingdom, the United States, France) and totalitarianism (the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Third World states are divided into three categories: façade democracy, quasi-democracy, and military regime. The first two are an integral part of the actual lexicon on hybrid regimes.

  • Hermet, Guy, Alain Rouquié, and Richard Rose, eds. Elections without Choice. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 1978.

    This collective project highlights the malleability of democratic institutions in authoritarian regimes, emphasizing how the state controls elections and escalates into vote-buying related phenomena which distort the voting process.

  • Huntington, Samuel P., and Clement H. Moore, eds. Authoritarian Politics in Modern Society: The Dynamics of Established One-Party Systems. New York: Basic Books, 1970.

    Within the historical relationship between modernization and institutionalization of the ruling party in authoritarian regimes lies the key link to explaining political stability.

  • Linz, Juan J. Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

    This updated version of earlier works examines nondemocratic regimes based on level of mass participation, importance of ideologies, and nature of limited political pluralism. Linz’s concept of authoritarianism serves as a cornerstone of one category of hybrid regime: Authoritarianism with Adjectives.

  • Perlmutter, Amos. Modern Authoritarianism: A Comparative Institutional Analysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.

    Perlmutter’s main argument concerns the twin processes of integration of society into the state and the simultaneous state autonomy from society, which constitute the core of all forms of authoritarian regimes. Of particular interests are the corporatist and praetorian models, for which the organizational structure and mechanisms of repression are described.

  • Zolberg, Aristide. Creating Political Order: The Party-States of West Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

    The question raised in this book regarding hegemonic party regimes and opposition is why such regimes sometimes survive with few resources while others fall in a similar context. The argument is twofold. First, ideology is central for achieving unanimity. Second, electoral malpractice and arbitrary use of law help contain dissent.

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