City Research Online

How “Participatory Governance” Strengthens Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Electoral Authoritarian Oaxaca, Mexico

Benton, A. L. (2016). How “Participatory Governance” Strengthens Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Electoral Authoritarian Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Politics in Latin America, 8(2), pp. 37-70. doi: 10.1177/1866802x1600800202


Research on the impact of participatory institutions in Latin America has not yet examined how they work in authoritarian settings. National autocrats in Mexico implemented participatory reforms during that country's national electoral authoritarian regime. Building on research on political decentralization in authoritarian regimes, I argue that participatory institutions can be used to channel citizen demands and to incorporate citizens into authoritarian systems, thereby strengthening authoritarian rule. However, following research on democratic participatory governance, I also argue that participatory institutions will work better in this regard when designed from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Statistical analysis of patterns of municipal-level electoral authoritarian support in Mexico shows that bottom-up-designed participatory institutions implemented during electoral authoritarian rule strengthened local political control to a greater extent than top-down-designed political systems. The study supports research revealing the anti-democratic effects of participatory institutions in democratic Latin American nations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work as published without adaptation or alteration, provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: Mexico, Oaxaca, participatory governance, municipal government, electoral authoritarian regimes, México, Oaxaca, gobernanza participativa, gobierno municipal, regímenes electorales autoritarios
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of How “Participatory Governance” Strengthens Authoritatrian Regimes.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (271kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login