Frantz studies authoritarian politics, with a focus on democratization, conflict, and development. She is also interested in the security and policy implications of autocratic rule. Frantz has published four books on dictatorships and development, as well as a number of journal articles and op-ed pieces. Prior to joining academia, she worked as a political analyst for a government contractor in the DC area.
Shows that dictatorships are not regimes driven by the whims of a single individual; leader-elite relations matter and are strongly influenced by the nature of the regime’s political institutions.
Shows that dictators are increasingly vulnerable to mass-led revolts and decreasingly susceptible to coups; today’s dictators must contend with the threats emanating from the elite, as well as the people they govern.
Offers a new data set measuring the start and end dates of autocratic regimes; shows that about half of the time that dictatorships collapse, new dictatorships are established instead of democracies.
Examines how dictatorships now nearly always rely on pseudo-democratic institutions to maintain power (such as regular elections, multiple political parties, and legislatures) and that this helps explain the increasing durability of today’s dictatorships.
Discusses how a dictator’s reliance on multiple political parties and a legislature as a form of cooptation changes how repression is used: it decreases empowerment rights restrictions, such as censorship, while increasing physical integrity rights violations, such as torture.
Shows that when dictators die in office of natural causes, the regime nearly always remains in tact in the years to come; death in office is rarely destabilizing for dictatorships.