Purges: The Legacy of Dictatorship after Democratization


Purges: The Legacy of Dictatorship after Democratization

F. Daniel Hidalgo is the Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Abstract of his communication: “Authoritarian regimes with elected legislatures often use purges and exile to ensure that political elites remain compliant while the autocrats are in power, as well as to benefit favored elites during democratic transitions. To what extent can autocrats shape the distribution of power amongst the post-transition political elites? To answer this question, I rely on previously untapped data on politicians exiled and purged during military dictatorship in Brazil. I study the long term political careers of purged politicians—before and after the democratic transition—compared to those who escaped purges using biographic, electoral, and news coverage data. To further understand the long term impact on the composition of the political elite, I also analyze the trajectory of the children of dictatorship-era politicians. To identify confounding factors, I rely on recently declassified secret police dossiers, as well as transcripts of military meetings where the decision to purge was made.”

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