André Bank / Mirjam Edel

Authoritarian Regime Learning: Comparative Insights from the Arab Uprisings

GIGA Working Paper, No. 274, June 2015

Abstract
This paper examines the learning of authoritarian regimes in the early phase of the Arab uprisings. Differentiating conceptually between learning and policy change, we analyze and compare the authoritarian regimes of Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, and Syria and their reactions to the challenge of "late riser" oppositional protests. We first show that the four regimes initiated very diverse measures in the domains of repression, material co‐optation, and legal reforms. With regard to the sources of learning, we find that proximity is a determining factor, in terms of both geography and political similarity. Using the case of Bahrain, we then demonstrate that structural factors such as internal power structures, regional and international pressures, or state capacity can decisively constrain the implementation of learning‐induced policy change. Overall, the paper aims to contribute to the emerging research on the international dimension of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and beyond.

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GIGA Authors

Dr André Bank is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East ­Studies. He was formerly the speaker of the International Diffusion and ­Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) research network, which was funded by the Leibniz Association from 2014 to 2019. His research focuses on authoritarianism, conflict dynamics, and regional order in the Middle East.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Lea Müller-Funk / Christiane Fröhlich / André Bank

State(s) of Negotiation: Drivers of Forced Migration Governance in Most of the World

GIGA Working Paper, No. 323, August 2020

André Bank

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

in: Sean Yom (ed.), Government and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, London: Routledge , 2020, 377-408

André Bank / Kurt Weyland (eds.)

Authoritarian Diffusion and Cooperation: Interests vs. Ideology

London: Routledge, 2018