Accueil > Governance, democracy and Public Policy : Populism and Autocracy

KAFP 4080 - Governance, Democracy and Public Policy : populism and autocracy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2020-2021

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No prerequisite.

Course Description

The course focuses on the recent rise of populism and the transformation of non-democratic regimes around the world. The course will discuss economic and non-economic theories and evidence on the rise of populism, the role of secular trends (globalization and technological change) as well as short-term shocks (such as the recent global financial crisis and the refugee crisis in Europe). We will also discuss the impact of the rise of populism on public policy in countries where populist win the elections and in countries where they influence the behaviour of mainstream parties. We will also analyze the transformation of non-democratic regimes – from those based on mass repression to those using manipulation of information, economic legitimacy and blending in with democracies. We will discuss how modern non-democracies function and how they select and implement public policies.


  • AVETIAN, Vladimir (PhD student)
  • GURIEV, Sergei (Professeur)

Pedagogical format

This class will be highly interactive. Students will be asked to read material before each class and to post their comments on the course moodle. The instructor will then review these comments and prepare slides to respond to the students' questions. During the lecture, students will have more opportunities to engage with the content of the course by responding to polls, by asking questions online and by debating among themselves. Group discussions will be encouraged whenever possible. The last three sessions will be dedicated to in-class discussions of specific examples of populist and autocratic regimes. The output of the mid-term exam and of the final exam will be shared online so that all students can benefit from their peers' work.

Course validation

50% final exam. Students will be asked to write 500-word essays on two questions similar to the mid-term assignment (students will have a choice of two questions out of four). Students will have 48 hours to submit their paper


Students are expected to read the required reading (an article or a chapter from the list below or additional articles to be provided in the detailed syllabus) and post their comments online before each class. The slides of each lecture will be made available before each class.

Required reading

  • Eichengreen, Barry (2018). The Populist Temptation: Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era. Oxford University Press.
  • Geddes, Barbara, Joseph Wright, and Erica Frantz (2018). How Dictatorships Work: Power, Personalization, and Collapse Paperback. Cambridge University Press.
  • Guriev, Sergei, and Daniel Treisman (2019). “Informational Autocrats." Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • Mueller, Jan-Werner (2016). What is Populism? University of Pennsylvania Press.