CDDRL Working Papers
This paper elaborates a coherent conceptual framework - a necessary step prior to
the development of specific theories and the deduction of hypotheses. Based on previous work on regime changes, it identifies what should be regarded central,
peripheral, and distinct regarding political regime and affiliated concepts and rejects
several alternative perspectives.
The paper suggests how we can systematize our research on regime changes
by distinguishing between different phases and outcomes. Institutional perspectives
that focus on both formal and informal institutions and that addresses the complex
connection between rules, behaviour and attitudes are found to be the most plausible.
The regime definition based on this insight points out four defining principles -
character of rulers, access to power, vertical power limitations, and horizontal power
limitations. Moreover, the political-institutional perspective put forward enables researchers to draw systematic distinctions between three crucial dimensions (the rule
dimension, the behavioural dimension, and the attitudinal dimension) as well as different phases (transition, installation, and operation) and outcomes of regime