Loyalty and Acquiescence: Authoritarian Regimes and Inequality Outcomes
APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
Although the range of variation in economic inequality is similar in democratic and authoritarian states, study of this variation has focused predominantly on democracies. This paper develops a theory that explains inequality outcomes in authoritarian regimes as a function of the different combinations of loyalty-building and repressive measures (carrots and sticks) that authoritarian rulers use to maintain power. Like democratically-elected rulers, authoritarian rulers face competitive pressures and are sensitive to the interests of the constituencies that keep them in power. They supply public and private goods in response to these pressures. Unlike their democratically-elected counterparts, authoritarian rulers can also employ repression to raise the costs of political dissent. The most optimal combination of carrots and sticks is a function of their relative costs to the ruler, and these relative costs vary across authoritarian regime types in predictable ways. These regime types -- e.g. single-party regimes, military regimes, and monarchies -- give rulers different sets of institutional tools and affect the nature of the coalition on which rulers depend to maintain power. The result are economic policy outcomes that, over time, affect the level of economic inequality. Using a cross-national dataset covering over 80 authoritarian regimes observed during the 1960-2002 time period, this paper develops and tests hypotheses that link inequality outcomes to authoritarian regime types.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: inequality, authoritarianismworking papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: August 29, 2010
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