Research Agenda

The increasing international influence of authoritarian regimes has become an important concern. The controversy about a ‘reverse wave’ of democratization, the expansion of non-democratic rule, and the ‘backlash against democracy promotion’ reflects this trend. A wide-spread consensus holds that international factors matter for regime development, to what degree and in what ways they do is an object of debate. Research on the diffusion and cooperation of authoritarian regimes is an important, but new field of scholarly study. The existing literature is highly fragmented and only loosely connected to concepts developed in broader political science and diffusion studies. The major challenge is to understand:

  • In which way does the international diffusion and cooperation of authoritarian regimes operate?
  • What are the specific mechanisms involved?
  • How does the international diffusion and cooperation of authoritarian regimes impact on different authoritarian regimes?
  • How does it affect the chances of democracy promotion and democratization?