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Meyer-Sahling, Jan-Hinrik, and Fanni Toth. “Governing Illiberal Democracies: Democratic Backsliding and the Political Appointment of Top Officials in Hungary.” NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy 13, no. 2 (2020): 93-113.


This paper examines the impact of democratic backsliding on the management of top officials in Hungary. Based on a unique data set of more than 1,600 top officials the article shows that the number of appointments to top positions increased in 2010 and subsequent years, during which Hungary experienced democratic backsliding. Moreover, the data shows that turnover in top official positions was higher in 2010 and in subsequent years than in the period between 1990 and 2010. The paper concludes that the politicization and high degree of instability in top official positions may be characteristic of governance in illiberal democracies.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.