Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Andrew Wedeman

Second Advisor

Kim Reimann

Third Advisor

Jennifer McCoy


What makes a country continue to function even in the times of severe political crises? My dissertation addresses this question by presenting the theory of bureaucratic stability. I argue that because of their institutional knowledge and specialized skills, senior bureaucrats are the only constant in the governance structure and hence, a major stakeholder in governance. I theorize that in cases where the quality of bureaucracy and institutional autonomy are high, the country will have stable governance i.e. public service delivery and policy implementation, even in times of political crises. I define the quality of bureaucracy as professionalized training and meritorious recruitment/ promotions while institutional autonomy is defined as. insulation from political fallout and independent policymaking. Using extensive fieldwork including elites interviews conducted in Taiwan, Pakistan, and Turkey, I present evidence to support my theory using network analyses that map interactions between various stakeholders in the case countries to highlight the role of high-quality senior bureaucracy who possess high levels of institutional autonomy and ensure governance stability even during dire political crises. Using network analysis during real instances of political crises, I also explain how Turkey descended into authoritarian rule while Taiwan ascended to become a democracy supported by high-quality senior bureaucrats who had institutional autonomy. My dissertation provides a causal framework that aids our understanding of success and failure of democratization through the contribution of institutions and bureaucracies.

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