Working Papers

Abstract: When faced with an internal legitimacy crisis should an autocratic incumbent democratize or increase repression levels? By employing an innovative staggered Difference-in-Differences design with a multi-value treatment, this article provides strong empirical evidence that economic clout — defined as the extent of economic influence over the international community by an autocratic regime — is a crucial factor in the autocrat’s decision to democratize. High levels of economic clout (HEC) increase democratization costs, making repression the cheapest and most attractive choice. The existence of HEC will prompt international trade partners not to pressure the regime to democratize in order to keep the favorable economic status quo that allows them to benefit from the economic gains from trade with the autocracy. In non-HEC regimes, the costs of repression will be higher since international pressure to democratize will be more pronounced, prompting the autocrat to democratize instead of investing in repression.

  • Undemocratic Regime Types and Immunisation Against Extremism thesis-based paper

  • Homo Sovieticus or Homo Economicus? Measuring the Impact of Indoctrination and Welfare Redistribution on the Vote for Communism in Russia thesis-based paper

  • Authoritarian Rule and Party System Fragmentation (with Elias Dinas and Ksenia Northmore-Ball)

  • Rent-Seeking and Public Investment Choices (with André Azevedo Alves)
Book Chapter
  • Azevedo Alves, André, and Catarina Leão. “Controlo Democrático do Orçamento.” In Orçamento, Economia e Democracia: Uma Proposta de Arquitectura Institicional, edited by Abel Mateus, 271-296. Lisbon: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos, 2018.
Publication (non-peer reviewed)
  • Leão, Catarina, “About Tradition in Karl Popper: Does a Popperian Open Society require a grounding in a Shared Tradition?”, Nova Cidadania, Spring 2014, no. 52.

Research Interests: Political Economy, Comparative Government, Autocratic Regimes and Legacies,
Rational Choice, Quantitative Methods.