Relative Mobilization Capacity, Elections, and Civil Liberties across Polity Analysis ​

September 5, 2019

Ruchan Kaya and Alexander Pacek Seminar


Name:  Ruchan Kaya- Texas A&M University Alexander Pacek, Texas A&M University

Date:  May 15, 2018 – Tuesday

Place: CASE 127

Time: 16:00-17:15

Title: Relative Mobilization Capacity, Elections, and Civil Liberties across Polity Analysis ​

Abstract: Contestation has always had a central place in democratization studies. The Dahlian understanding in particular had contestation and inclusiveness as two central pillars in conceptualization of the term. With the rise of authoritarian countries holding elections, even some monarchies, countries satisfy the condition of inclusiveness more while many of them lack contestation. Inspired by the findings in Kaya and Bernhard (2013), we generate a new indicator on electoral competitiveness, measuring the relative mobilization capacity (RMC) of the winner relative to the runner up in both lower chamber and presidential elections. Employing this indicator, this paper evaluates the effect of RMC on civil liberties. Using a global sample of elections, our findings suggest that, indeed a more competitive democracy is a better democracy, showing better levels of civil liberties. While better levels of electoral competition have a somewhat stronger effect in legislative settings, increasing competition among different types of authoritarian settings also have relevance in improving civil liberties.


Bio: Ruchan Kaya is a visiting assistant professor at Texas A&M University in United States. He has two strains of research interests on natural resource politics as well as studying civil society, elections, and democracy. In particular, his dissertation centers upon how resource production affects the processes of regime change, regime diffusion, economic, and human development in natural resource transit countries. His published research focuses on the relationship between successive elections and democratization in post-communist space. He graduated from Sabanci University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social and Political Sciences. As an Alumni Fellow, he received his master’s degree and then completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Florida.