Misclassification on the Mekong: the origins of Hun Sen's personalist dictatorship
Authoritarian regime datasets are an important tool for research in both comparative politics and international relations. Despite widespread use of these categorization schemes, very little attention has been paid to the quality of the judgements contained within them. Using the unambiguous case of Cambodia, this article demonstrates how leading datasets have failed to capture the manifest features of Hun Sen’s personalist dictatorship. This is demonstrated by the unconstrained and discretionary authority he wields across six domains of control. In addition to reclassifying Cambodia as a party-personalist regime, this article raises questions about the reliability of classification judgements for more opaque authoritarian regimes. The article has implications for existing and ongoing research into whether personalist dictatorships will undergo democratization, initiate interstate war, and commit repression.
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Political Science not elsewhere classified