Empirical Study of Autocracy: Konstanz

Event date: 
Saturday, September 9, 2017 - 22:00 to Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 22:00

Worskhop  on “The Empirical Study of Autocracy (ESTA)” September 10-13, 2017.



Given recent political developments in Europe and worldwide, there is little reason to expect that autocracy is receding. This workshop brings together researchers studying the various dynamics of autocratic rule using rigorous empirical approaches. The workshop includes three tracks:

(1)  Institutions: How do different autocratic institutions secure autocratic power or pave the way for democratization?

(2)  Information: How do informational dynamics affect autocratic rule? Does modern ICT threaten or strengthen leaders?

(3)  Indicators: How can we empirically capture different aspects of closed autocratic systems? What new datasets exist for scholarly research on autocracy?

Marinov will likely contribute to (1) or (2).  The workshop starts on Sunday (Sept 10) with a joint dinner in Konstanz, and ends on Wednesday (Sept 13) in the afternoon. We expect to have around 22 presentations, with slots of 45min for each paper. For participants arriving early, we will try to organize a social event on Sunday (to be confirmed).


Nils B. Weidmann

Professor of Political Science

University of Konstanz




The Empirical Study of Autocracy (ESTA) University of Konstanz, Germany


September 10-12, 2017


Presentations and comments by the discussant are 15mins each.


Sunday, September 10


19.30 Welcome dinner at (TBA)


Monday, September 11


09.00-09.10 Welcome and logistics


09.10-10.40 Panel


Chair: Molly Roberts Discussant: Jos Bartman


Measuring Varieties of Autocracy with V-Dem Data


Staffan Lindberg


The Latent Characteristics That Structure Autocratic Rule


Joseph Wright


Universities, State-Building, and Democratization


Jan H. Pierskalla


10.40-11.10 Coffee


11.10-12.40 Panel


Chair: Nils B. Weidmann Discussant: Anita Gohdes


Stalin's Famine and the Political Legacy of Mass Starvation


Yuri M. Zhukov


Trickle-Down Ethnic Politics: Drunk and Absent in the Kenya Police Force (1957-1970)


Patrick Kuhn


Pulling the Strings? The Strategic Use of Pro-Regime Rallies in Authoritarian Regimes


Sebastian Hellmeier


12.40-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Panel


Chair: Holger Kern Discussant: Dag Tanneberg


Who Owns the Internet, and Why Does It Matter? Internet Infrastructure and Shutdowns in Sub- Saharan



Tina Freyburg and Lisa Garbe


A Tool for Contention or Censorship? Denial-of-Service Attacks During Popular Uprisings in Authoritarian Regimes


Philipp Lutscher


From riot police to tweets: How world leaders use social media during contentious politics


Anita R. Gohdes


15.30-16.00 Coffee


16.00-17.30 Panel


Chair: Nikolay Marinov Discussant: Johannes Vüllers


Illiberal Norm Diffusion: How Do States Learn to Restrict NGOs?


Marlies Glasius


The determinants of alignment: Verbal and material collaboration between authoritarian regimes


Christian von Soest


Old flames never dying? The Chinese Communist Party’s relations to political parties in Sub-Saharan Africa


Julia Bader


19.30 Dinner at (TBA)


Tuesday, September 12


09.00-10.30 Panel


Chair: Carl Henrik Knutsen Discussant: Kris Ruijgrok


Trust Us: Technical Election Assistance and Post-Election Violence


Inken von Borzyskowski


Autocrats Don't Always Lie: GDP Manipulation, Autocracies, and Foreign Aid


Holger L. Kern


Quantifying U.S. Attention to Foreign Elections with Text Analysis


Nikolay Marinov


10.30-11.00 Coffee


11.00-12.30 Panel


Chair: Patrick Kuhn Discussant: Annerose Nisser


Authoritarian Transparency and Chinese Courts


Molly Roberts


Blurring the Lines: Self-Censorship Under Autocracy


Charles Crabtree


Signals of strength and weakness. Analyzing North Korea’s propaganda texts


Johannes Gerschewski


12.30-14.00 Lunch


14.00-15.30 Panel


Chair: Tina Freyburg


Discussant: Espen Geelmuyden Rød


Capitalists in Revolution


Mehdi Shadmehr


Modernization: Does it have an impact on the survival of autocracies?


Steffen Kailitz


Patterns of Regime Change since the French Revolution


Carl Henrik Knutsen


15.30 Coffee and end of the workshop