Lucan Way

Lucan Way

Associate Professor
(416) 287-7295


Lucan Way is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on democratic transitions and the evolution of authoritarian rule in the former Soviet Union and in cross-regional perspective. His book, Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics, is forthcoming with Johns Hopkins University Press. He is also known for his work on hybrid or competitive authoritarian rule.  His book, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Steven Levitsky), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. He 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. He is currently working on a book that explores why certain autocracies – such as the USSR, Cuba, Iran, North Korea – have been so durable in the face of extreme outside pressure. The Durability of Revolutionary Regimes (with Steven Levitsky) examines the ways in which origins in violent revolutionary struggle generate robust authoritarian institutions.  Professor Way is on the Editorial Board of 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