There is a rich body of theorizing on the diffusion of democracy across space and time. There is also an emerging scholarship on authoritarian diffusion. The dynamics of the interaction between external democratic and autocratic diffusion processes and their effects on national and sub-national political regime outcomes have received scant attention in the literature. Do democratic diffusion processes help counter external authoritarian influences? And, in contexts where external diffusion of democratic influences is weak, do we observe greater susceptibility to diffusion from regional autocracies that might in turn reinforce authoritarian practices and institutions in “recipient” states? To address these questions, we perform analysis of data from two original under-utilized data sets—a data set on the European Union (EU) aid to Russia’s regions and a data set with statistics on trade among post-Soviet states. We find that EU aid has the effect of countering external authoritarian influences that work through Soviet-era inter-regional economic ties.
Do economic sanctions turn the public against the target government or cause it to rally around the flag? How do sanctions affect attitudes toward the sanctioner? How does bad economic performance under sanctions shape support for the target government? Despite their importance, these questions have rarely been explored with survey data. Results from two surveys in Russia find that exposure to information about economic sanctions does not generate a rally around the flag, leads some groups to withdraw support from the target government, and reduces support for the sanctioner. Respondents also react more strongly to the reasons why sanctions were put in place—the annexation of Crimea—than to the sanctions themselves. These results suggest the need to reevaluate theories of the impact of economic sanctions and blame-shifting under autocracy.
Structural equation modelers judge multi-item constructs against three requirements: (a) multiple items converge in a single dimension; (b) individual-level patterns of item convergence are invariant across countries; (c) aggregate-level patterns of item convergence replicate those at the individual level. This approach involves two premises: Measurement validity hinges solely on a construct’s internal convergence, and convergence patterns at the individual level have priority over those at the aggregate level. We question both premises (a) because convergence patterns at the aggregate-level exist in their own right and (b) because only a construct’s external linkages reveal its reality outreach. In support of these claims, we use the example of “emancipative values” to show that constructs can entirely lack convergence at the individual level and nevertheless exhibit powerful and important linkages at the aggregate level. Consequently, we advocate a paradigm shift from internal convergencetoward external linkage as the prime criterion of validity.