Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



One of the most consistent findings, to date, in the human rights literature asserts that democracy decreases the likelihood of state repression. Several studies have noted the pacifying effects of democratic norms, competitive elections, and institutional checks on the executive as aspects that make democracies less repressive. However, the basic dichotomous measures that are commonly used in the literature only capture the presence or absence of these democratic characteristics and cannot account for the variation that exists between countries within these democratic institutions. In this paper, I suggest that electoral outcomes resulting from variation in institutional choice may have certain implications for a state's likelihood of using repression; one such electoral outcome is disproportionality. I argue that the level of consensuality of a democracy, represented as vote to seat disproportionality, should have different implications for state repression depending on how secure the government officials feel in their political survival. Using paneled data I create an ordered logit model and find that when job insecurity is high, high levels of disproportionality will encourage the most extreme levels of repression. However, when job insecurity is low, majoritarian systems are more likely to not repress their citizens.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Potter, Joshua