Laws of Politics : Their Operations in Democracies and Dictatorships book cover
1st Edition

Laws of Politics
Their Operations in Democracies and Dictatorships

ISBN 9780367759513
Published August 24, 2021 by Routledge
174 Pages 35 Color Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Drawing on classic and contemporary scholarship and empirical analysis of elections and public expenditures in 80 countries, the author argues for the existence of primary and secondary laws of politics.

Starting with how basic elements of politics—leadership, organization, ideology, resources, and force—coalesce in the formation of states, he proceeds to examine the operations of those laws in democracies and dictatorships. Primary laws constrain the support that incumbents draw from the electorate, limiting their time in office. They operate unimpeded in democracies. Secondary laws describe the general tendency of the state to expand vis-à-vis economy and society. They exert their greatest force in one-party states imbued with a totalitarian ideology. The author establishes the primary laws in a rigorous analysis of 1,100 parliamentary and presidential elections in 80 countries, plus another 1,000 U.S. gubernatorial elections. Evidence for the secondary laws is drawn from public expenditure data series, with findings presented in easily grasped tables and graphs. Having established these laws quantitatively, the author uses Cuba as a case study, adding qualitative analysis and a practical application to propose a constitutional framework for a future Cuban democracy.

Written in an engaging, jargon-free style, this enlightening book will be of great interest to students and scholars in political science, especially those specializing in comparative politics, as well as opinion leaders and engaged citizens.

Table of Contents

Part I. Preliminaries  1. Introduction. Politology—The Science of Politics  2. An Analytical Beginning: From Anarchy to State Formation  Part II. The Making of Democracies and Dictatorships  3. Elements of Politics: The Building Blocks of Regimes  4. The Compounds: Democracies and Dictatorships  Part III. A Data Set for the Study of Politics  5. A Political World: Regimes, Countries, Regions  6. An Electoral System: Variables and Parameters  7. Laws of Politics: Primary and Secondary  Part IV. Primary Laws of Politics  8. The First Law of Politics: The Law of Shrinking Support  9. The Second Law of Politics: The Law of Alternation in Office  10. Other Constants of Incumbent Vote  11. The Operation of Primary Laws in Dictatorships  Part V. Secondary Laws of Politics  12. The Laws of State Expansion  13. State Spending in Democracies and Dictatorships  Part VI. Cuba: A Case Study  14. Cuba: A Historical Outline  15. Democracy in Cuba: A Comparative Analysis  16. Dictatorship in Cuba: A Comparative Analysis  17. A Constitutional Framework for a Free Cuba  Part VII. Recapitulation and Conclusion  18. Laws of Politics: Summary and Extension

View More



Alfred G. Cuzán is Distinguished University Professor of Political Science at the University of West Florida, U.S.A., where he teaches primarily American and comparative politics.


"In political science, developing a grand theory of everything political seems like an unattainable goal. But Cuzán's Laws of Politics brings us several significant steps closer to it. This work is a major scientific achievement."

Arend Lijphart, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California San Diego, U.S.A.

"Cuzán tests claims about state power around the world, in democracies and non-democracies alike. Drawing on data from elections and public expenditures in 80 countries, he advances sweeping propositions based on patterns that only such a broad-gauged analysis could reveal. Few works of comparative politics are so ambitious, or so thought-provoking."

John M. Carey, Professor of Government and Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College, U.S.A.

"If the title of this book challenges people’s assumptions about the political world, the content delivers a powerful punch. In this broadly comparative empirical study, Cuzán documents various laws of politics that operate in representative democracies and authoritarian systems, probing their causes and contemplating their consequences along the way. I heartily recommend it."

Chistopher Wlezien, Hogg Professor of Government at the University of Texas, U.S.A.