When are Junctures Critical? The Legacies and Non-Legacies of Interruptions in Local Self-Government

07 June 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Interruptions in local self-government are a common feature of imperial rule and centralized authoritarianism. Extant scholarship considers interruptions in both contexts as potentially legacy-producing. But under which circumstances do these denials of political autonomy lead to sustained changes in political behavior? We develop a novel framework that elucidates when interruptions in local self-rule will or will not produce political legacies. Two factors are crucial: the duration of an interruption and the scope of repression. Enduring interruptions characterized by encompassing repression are the most likely to generate persistent changes. Contrariwise, transient interruptions characterized by limited repressiveness are unlikely to produce legacies. Given our theory's broad character, we conduct empirical analyses in two markedly different settings: Poland, which was split between three major empires, and Brazil, where a military regime installed appointed mayors in certain cities. Our results demonstrate that interruptions in local self-government have varying potential to create legacies.


Historical persistence
Comparative historical analysis

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