Gero Erdmann / André Bank / Bert Hoffmann / Thomas Richter

International Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes: Toward a Conceptual Framework

GIGA Working Paper, No. 229, July 2013

Authoritarian regimes use multiple forms of international cooperation to sustain their rule. In scholarly research, however, the study of these phenomena has been marginal and still lacks conceptual clarity. This paper takes stock of these shortcomings and embarks on a review of the existing literature from democratization, diffusion, policy transfer and Europeanization studies. In doing so, it identifies a number of conceptual approaches whose integration can provide a useful framework for the study of the international cooperation of authoritarian regimes. For this, the specific characteristics of nondemocratic rule need to be taken into account – from their preference of some forms of cooperation over others to practical difficulties for empirical fieldwork. Against this backdrop, we provide examples of different types of authoritarian cooperation and conclude by sketching a research agenda that is as politically necessary as it is academically promising.

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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.

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

Lead Research Fellow
Head GIGA Berlin Office

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann is a lead research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, Head of the GIGA Berlin Office, and Professor of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin. He works on political and social developments in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is senior researcher in the EU-funded Jean Monnet Network project “Europe Cuba Forum.”

Dr. Thomas Richter

Senior Research Fellow
Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

Dr. Thomas Richter is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies, and a member of the GIGA’s “Accountability and Participation” and “Power and Ideas” research programmes. His current research topics include authoritarian regimes, rentier state theory, shrinking civic spaces, and policy diffusion.

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