Lucan Way

Lucan Way

(416) 287-7295


Lucan Way received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has held fellowships at Harvard University (Harvard Academy and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies) and the University of Notre Dame (Kellogg Fellowship).

Way's research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union and the developing world.  His most recent book, Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics (Johns Hopkins, 2015), examines the sources political competition in the former Soviet Union. His book, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Steven Levitsky), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Way?s work on competitive authoritarianism has been cited thousands of times and helped stimulate new and wide-ranging research into the dynamics of hybrid democratic-authoritarian rule.

Way has also published articles in Comparative Politics, Journal of Democracy, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Slavic Review, Studies in Comparative and International Development, World Politics, as well as in a number of area studies journals and edited volumes. His article in World Politics was awarded the Best Article Award in the ?Comparative Democratization? section of the American Political Science Association in 2006. Together with Steven Levitsky, Professor Way is currently writing a book, under contract with Princeton University Press, on the durability of authoritarian regimes founded in violent revolutionary struggle.  He is Co-Director of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine and is Co-Chair of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Democracy.

Research Interests: 

  • Authoritarianism
  • Democratization
  • Revolutions
  • Post-communist politics
  • African Politics

Awards and Grants: 

  • 2006 Winner of the Best Article Award from the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Democratization Section
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSHRC), “Revolutionary Struggle and Authoritarian Durability,” Insight Grant, 2012-2017, $175,572.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSHRC) “Competitive Authoritarianism,” Research Grant 2007-2011, $62,000.
  • Connaught New Staff Matching Grant



  • Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. (with Steven Levitsky) (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).


  • “The Durability of Revolutionary Regimes,” (with Steven Levitsky) Journal of Democracy 24, No. 3 (July 2013): 5-17.
  • “Beyond Patronage: Violent Struggle, Ruling Party Cohesion and Authoritarian Durability.” (with Steven Levitsky) Perspectives on Politics 10, No. 4 (2012): 869-889
  • “Deer in Headlights: Incompetence and Weak Authoritarianism after the Cold War.” Slavic Review, 71, No. 3 (2012): 619-646
  • “The Sources of Authoritarian Control after the Cold War: East Africa and the former Soviet Union.” Post-Soviet Affairs, 28, No. 4 (2012): 424–448.
  • “Comparing Arab Revolts: Lessons of 1989.” Journal of Democracy 22, no. 4 (October 2011): 17-27.
  • Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way "Why Democracy Needs a Level Playing Field." Journal of Democracy. 21(1) 57-68 (2010)
  • Lucan Way "Debating the Color Revolutions: A Reply to My Critics" Journal of Democracy. 20, No. 1 90-97 (January 2009)
  • Lucan Way "The Real Causes of the Color Revolutions " Journal of Democracy. 19, No. 3: 55-69 (July 2008)
  • Lucan Way Authoritarian State Building and the Sources of Regime Competitiveness in the Fourth Wave: The Cases of Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine? World Politics, 57 (2): 231-265 (January 2005)

Teaching Interests: 

  • POLB92H3 Comparative Politics: Revolution, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Modern Europe
  • POLB93H3 Comparative Politics: Ethnic Conflict and Democratization in Europe After the Cold War
  • POLD92H3 Survival and Demise of Dictatorships