Authoritarian Legislatures and Policymaking (With Beatriz Magaloni).

This article reviews why legislatures can help autocrats to manage the policy process in ways that reduce threats from both elites and the public. We then leverage data from V-Dem to explore the frequency with which authoritarian legislatures are actively involved in shaping policies, which we compare to their roles in co-opting potential opposition and constraining the autocrat. The data highlights the weakness of many authoritarian legislatures, as well as the need to think more carefully about scope conditions for theories of authoritarian institutions. We also use data from several Barometer surveys to explore how authoritarian legislatures are perceived by their citizens, finding patterns consistent with legislatures helping to legitimate the policy process and providing useful scapegoats for autocrats. In general, the study of authoritarian regimes would benefit from further theoretical and empirical research on authoritarian policy processes and the various ways in which institutions like legislatures contribute to them.