Performance Incentives Under Autocracy: Evidence from Russia's Regions

41 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2017

See all articles by Noah Buckley

Noah Buckley

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

Ora John Reuter

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

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Date Written: January 23, 2017

Abstract

Available evidence indicates that there is considerable variation among autocracies in the extent to which subnational officials are rewarded for economic growth. Why is economic performance used as a criterion for appointment in some autocracies but not in others? We argue that in more competitive - though still autocratic - regimes, the political imperatives of maintaining a political machine that can win semi-competitive elections leads regime leaders to abandon cadre policies that promote economic development. Using data on turnover among high-level economic bureaucrats in Russia's 89 regions between 2001 and 2012, we find that performance-based appointments are more frequent in less competitive regions. These findings demonstrate one way that semi-competitive elections can actually undermine economic development under autocracy.

Keywords: autocracy, development, bureaucrats, Russia, performance-based, appointments, subnational

Suggested Citation

Buckley, Noah and Reuter, Ora John, Performance Incentives Under Autocracy: Evidence from Russia's Regions (January 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2903789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2903789

Noah Buckley

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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

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