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Michael Buehler, SOAS

The decentralization of political and fiscal authority in Indonesia in 1999 triggered a series of studies that predicted the rise of subnational strongmen who would subjugate the local state to their personal interests. However, almost 20 years after the devolution of power, Indonesian local politics are a lot more dynamic than earlier studies had assumed. While there are undoubtedly oligarchic and dynastic tendencies in Indonesian local politics, recent scholarship has emphasized the ephemeral nature of such power constellations. This talk will examine the unique combination of institutional and structural conditions that explain why local dynasties struggle to survive multiple election cycles in Indonesian local politics.

The talk will also discuss research on subnational authoritarian regimes in other parts of the world and show that different constellations of institutional and socio-economic variables shape the rise and fall of local political monopolies.


Lunch will be served.

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