Subnational Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russian Gubernatorial Appointments

37 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011 Last revised: 16 May 2012

See all articles by Ora John Reuter

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: December 15, 2011

Abstract

Elections are among the most important and least understood institutions in contemporary authoritarian regimes. Theoretically, electoral authoritarian regimes should have an informational advantage that makes them more robust than other types of authoritarian regimes, but much empirical evidence suggests otherwise. In this paper we offer a new perspective on why this might be the case. Specifically, we consider how authoritarian elections influence a ruler’s choices in making cadre appointments. We argue that the imperative of winning authoritarian elections forces authoritarian leaders to prioritize the appointment of politically loyal cadres, who can help the regime win elections. This choice often comes at the expense of appointing officials who are competent at making good public policy and promoting economic development, factors that may contribute to long-term regime stability. We test this theory using an original dataset of gubernatorial appointments in one leading contemporary authoritarian regime, Russia.

Keywords: Russia, authoritarian regimes, elections, United Russia, bureaucrats, appointments

Suggested Citation

Reuter, Ora John and Robertson, Graeme, Subnational Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russian Gubernatorial Appointments (December 15, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1972857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1972857

Ora John Reuter (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Graeme Robertson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
NC 27514

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