The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
18 December 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIPLL20009 Politics,
BA L150 Political Economics,
BA L151 Political Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA L152 Political Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L154 Political Economics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module is designed to examine one of the biggest challenges to democracy in the contemporary world: authoritarianism. First we'll discuss what authoritarianism is and what the most common varieties of authoritarian regimes are. Then we'll go over the factors that drive politics in dictatorships and examine how these institutions can help explain the observed variation in autocratic
government performance. Last, we'll look at the logic of autocratic regime survival and conditions under which democratic transitions are more likely to occur.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the topic of political and bureaucratic corruption, a global problem that is present in dictatorships as well as democracies, in developing and more developed societies alike.

Module learning outcomes

The module is meant to encourage students to think on their own, while ensuring that their thoughts are coherent and logically sound. At the end of the module, students should be able to articulate cogent answers to questions such as: What explains government performance, or lack thereof, in dictatorships? Why do nondemocratic rulers govern with democratic institutions, such as legislatures and political parties?

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor.


  • Lambsdorff, Johann. (2008) The institutional economics of corruption and reform: theory, evidence, and policy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Svolik, Milan W. (2012) The politics of authoritarian rule, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge studies in comparative politics
  • Johnston, Michael. (2005) Syndromes of corruption: wealth, power, and democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gandhi, Jennifer. (2008) Political institutions under dictatorship, New York: Cambridge University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Test     50% 
Coursework   Essay   19/01/2021  50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Ximena Velasco Guachalla, email: vv20291@essex.ac.uk.
Miss Vania Velsaco Guachalla
Vania Velasco Guachalla Module Administrator: Edmund Walker, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Arzu Kibris
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 145 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
145 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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