The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains

33 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2009  

Raj M. Desai

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS); The Brookings Institution

Anders Olofsgård

Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE)

Tarik Yousef

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Abstract

Dictatorships do not survive by repression alone. Rather, dictatorial rule is often explained as an authoritarian bargain by which citizens relinquish political rights for economic security. The applicability of the authoritarian bargain to decision-making in non-democratic states, however, has not been thoroughly examined. We conceptualize this bargain as a simple game between a representative citizen and an autocrat who faces the threat of insurrection, and where economic transfers and political influence are simultaneously determined. Our model yields implications for empirical patterns that are expected to exist. Tests of a system of equations with panel data comprising 80 non-democratic states between 1975 and 1999 generally confirm the predictions of the authoritarian-bargain thesis, with some variation across different categories of dictatorship.

Suggested Citation

Desai, Raj M. and Olofsgård, Anders and Yousef, Tarik, The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains. Economics & Politics, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 93-125, March 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1376050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0343.2008.00337.x

Raj M. Desai (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Anders Olofsgård

Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE)

P.O. Box 6501
S-113 83 Stockholm, 11383
Sweden

Tarik Yousef

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-0347 (Phone)
202-687-7001 (Fax)

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