University of Limerick
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Regime change in hybrid regimes: a comparative qualitative analysis

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posted on 2023-01-30, 12:18 authored by Kai Simon Kippels

This doctoral thesis researches the topic of regime change in hybrid regimes. Regime change is a topic that has received significant academic attention, but due to the concept’s often ill-defined nature, existing research frequently presents contradicting results. This is due to the variety of regime change types, such as democratization and autocratization, and the variety of processes, for example military coups and the introduction of democratic elections, that drive them. The goal of this thesis was to examine whether explanations proposed in existing research, despite frequently being highly specific, are sufficient for the formulation of a universal causal mechanism of hybrid regime change.

The focus of the thesis is on hybrid regimes specifically as they are the most volatile type of political regime. Moreover, it is within hybrid regimes that both positive regime change, in the form democratization, and negative regime change, in the form of autocratization, occur with equal frequency. To investigate whether a coherent causal mechanism can be formulated, this thesis makes use of the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) method. This method allows assessing whether multiple conditions can either individually or in conjunction with each other consistently lead to the outcome of regime change.

This methodology is especially well suited since it allows for an analysis of medium-sized samples, which is necessary as less than 200 instances of positive or negative hybrid regime change could be identified in the last thirty years. Under the principle of equifinality, QCA also allows for multiple paths to regime change to coexist, which is necessary considering the complexity of the issue of regime change. Ultimately, the QCA analysis in  this thesis could not deliver conclusive results and further research into the topic of regime change utilizing alternative methods is recommended.  



  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Neil Robinson

Department or School

  • Politics & Public Administration

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