Comparative Leadership in Non-democracies

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


As of 2009, about one-third of the world’s countries were governed by some form of dictatorship and an even larger percentage of the world’s population lived under authoritarian rule. Despite the prevalence of dictatorships, scholars understand little about the internal politics of these regimes. The opaqueness surrounding authoritarian governance – especially compared to the transparency required in democracies – has impeded our ability to learn how dictatorships function.

Despite the inherent limitations in studying dictatorships, an increasing number of studies elaborate on authoritarian regimes. Scholars of authoritarianism concur: dictatorships are not one and the same. Differences among regimes lead to systematic variations in how their leaders behave and in the policies they choose. We examine how leadership differs across dictatorships. Our research contributes to the burgeoning research on authoritarian regimes and broadens our understanding of leadership across political systems.

Original Citation

Frantz, E. & Stein, E.A. (2012). Comparative Leadership in Non-democracies. In L. Helms (Ed.), Comparative Political Leadership (pp. 292-313). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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