Skip to main content


Does democracy promote political instability? Research by pre-eminent scholars demonstrate how nascent democracies may be disadvantaged in promoting political stability because of the pluralist and populist demands that citizens may place on the state that can generate large-scale social rigidities. Furthermore, recent scholarship has shown that nascent democracies are prone to having ethnic dominant minorities that precipitate large scale violence against them as they control most of the wealth, while ethnic dominant majorities resist income inequities. Autocracies are also considered to be more stable over time because of its virtual monopoly on the centralized use of force and its quick suppression of dissent and opposition. Certain autocracies also remain politically stable over time because of the perpetuation of Rentier-state economic systems. The article examines the research question using cases from 122 developing states where large variations exist in terms of its regime systems and levels of political stability. Cross-national regression analysis shows that democracies are more likely to be politically stable. Thus, autocracies in the developing world are more prone to political instability because oppressed citizenries and displaced groups have no other mechanism to voice dissent other than active mobilization in the streets or subversive activities against the state.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
18 Jul 2022
377 kB



  • Alternative title
    • Democracies, Autocracies, & Political Stability

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 90

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Rollin F. Tusalem is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Arkansas State University.