Steven Levitsky

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Steven Levitsky
Residence Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
Citizenship American
Fields Politics
Institutions Harvard University
Known for academic work

Steven Levitsky is a noted comparative political scientist, and has been a tenured Professor of Government and Social Studies in Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences since May 8, 2008. He specializes in Latin America, and particularly in Peru and Argentina.


Levitsky received a B.A. in Political Science (with honors) from Stanford University in 1990, and a Ph.D in Political Science from the UC Berkeley in 1999.[1]



Levitsky is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard from 2004, he was an assistant professor at Harvard from 2000 to 2003.[2]

He now serves as an adviser for two Harvard student organizations, the Harvard Organization for Latin America and the Harvard College Project for Sustainable Development;[3] and also serves as the Advisory Council on POLITAI Civil Association,[4] dedicated to research in Political Science and Government, formed by students of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú.[5]


Levitsky is known for his work with Lucan Way on Competitive Authoritarian Regimes, which are government types in which a single leader or party dominates, but where the opposition in theory could come to power through elections. Under such a system, the incumbents almost always retain power, because they control and tend to use the state to squelch opposition, arresting or intimidating opponents, controlling media coverage, or tampering with election results;[6] Russia under Vladimir Putin is considered a textbook example of this system. Levitsky is also an expert on the Nicaraguan revolution.

Personal life[edit]

Levitsky lives with his wife and daughter in Brookline, Massachusetts. Levitsky served as a visitant Professor at PUCP in Lima, Peru.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Journal articles[edit]

Forthcoming. “Variation in Institutional Strength: Causes and Implications.” (with María Victoria Murillo). Annual Review of Political Science.

Forthcoming. “Autocracy by Democratic Rules: The Dynamics of Autocratic Coercive Capacity after the Cold War” (with Lucan Way). Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

Forthcoming. “The Life of the Party? Understanding Informal Party Organization in Latin America” (with Flavia Freidenberg). Party Politics.

2007. “Linkage, Leverage and the Post-Communist Divide” (with Lucan A. Way). East European Politics and Societies 27, No. 21: 48-66.

2006. “Organized Labor and Democracy in Latin America” (with Scott Mainwaring). Comparative Politics 39, No. 1 (October): 21-42.

2006. “Linkage versus Leverage: Rethinking the International Dimension of Regime Change” (with Lucan Way). Comparative Politics 38, No. 4 (July): 379-400.

2005. “International Linkage and Democratization” (with Lucan Way). Journal of Democracy. 16, No. 3 (July): 20-34.

2004. “Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda” (with Gretchen Helmke). Perspectives on Politics 2, No. 4 (December): 725-740.

2003. “Argentina Weathers the Storm” (with M. Victoria Murillo). Journal of Democracy 14, No. 4 (October): 152-166.

2003. “From Labor Politics to Machine Politics: The Transformation of Party-Union Linkages in Argentine Peronism, 1983-99.” Latin American Research Review 38, No. 3: 3-36. [Also published in Desarrollo Económico (Argentina)]

2003. “Explaining Populist Party Adaptation in Latin America: Environmental and Organizational Determinants of Party Change in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela” (with Katrina Burgess). Comparative Political Studies 36, No. 8 (October): 859-880.

2003. “Democracy without Parties? Political Parties and Regime Change in Fujimori's Peru” (with Maxwell Cameron). Latin American Politics and Society 45, No. 3 (Fall): 1-33. [Also published in Instituciones y Desarrollo (Spain)]

2002. “Elections Without Democracy: The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism” (with Lucan Way). Journal of Democracy 13, No. 2 (April): 51-66. [Also published in Estudios Políticos (Colombia) 24 (July 2004).]

2001. “Organization and Labor-Based Party Adaptation: The Transformation of Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective.” World Politics 54, No. 1(October): 27-56.

2001. “Inside the Black Box: Recent Studies of Latin American Party Organizations.” Studies in Comparative International Development 36, No. 2 (summer): 92-110.

2001. “An ‘Organized Disorganization’: Informal Organization and the Persistence of Local Party Structures in Argentine Peronism.” Journal of Latin American Studies 33, No. 1 (February): 29-66. [Also published in Revista de Ciencias Sociales (Argentina) (October 2001)].

2000. “The ‘Normalization’ of Argentine Politics.” Journal of Democracy 11, No. 2 (April): 56-69.

1999. “Fujimori and Post-Party Politics in Peru.” Journal of Democracy 10, No. 3 (July): 78-92.

1998. “Crisis, Party Adaptation, and Regime Stability in Argentina: The Case of Peronism, 1989-1995.” Party Politics 4, No. 4: 445-470. [Also published in Revista de Ciencias Sociales (Argentina) (September 1997)].

1998. “Between a Shock and a Hard Place: The Dynamics of Labor-Backed Adjustment in Argentina and Poland” (with Lucan Way). Comparative Politics 30, No. 2 (January): 171-192.

1998. “Institutionalization and Peronism: The Case, the Concept, and the Case for Unpacking the Concept.” Party Politics 4, No. 1 (January): 77-92.

1997. “Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research” (with David Collier), World Politics 49, No. 3 (April): 430-51. [Also published in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica (December 1997), Agora, Buenos Aires (January 1998), and La Politica, Barcelona (October 1998)].

1991. “FSLN Congress: A Cautious First Step.” Journal of Communist Studies 7, No. 4 (December): 539-544.


2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: The Origins and Evolution of Hybrid Regimes in the Post-Cold War Era (with Lucan A. Way). New York: Cambridge University Press.

2006. Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (edited with Gretchen Helmke). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

2005. Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness (edited with M. Victoria Murillo). University Park: Penn State University Press.

2003. Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. [Published in Spanish as Transformación del Justicialismo: Del Partido Sindical al Partido Clientelista. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, 2005]


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