Leader-Driven Resource Blessing? Old Dictators, Natural Resources, and Competitive Elections

31 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2017

Date Written: February 5, 2017

Abstract

This paper examines the conditions under which dictators introduce competitive elections, and looks specifically at the role played by a dictator's age. Conventional wisdom argues that leaders become better at retaining power over time. By contrast, I argue that a dictator's risk of violent removal increases as a dictator ages because his advancing age increases ruling coalition members' uncertainty, and declines their expected utility from their share of rents. As a result, I argue that older dictators are more likely to introduce elections in order to head off potential defection from the coalition. Using a large-N, cross-national dataset on dictators and competitive elections between 1960 and 2004, this paper examines the argument and finds that as dictators age, they are generally more likely to introduce competitive elections, all else equal. The analysis also tests two observable implications of the mechanism and shows that nontax revenues and regime types affect how dictators' age leads to the introduction of competitive elections. The finding offers a more nuanced mechanism of autocratic regime durability and resource curse.

Suggested Citation

Tanaka, Seiki, Leader-Driven Resource Blessing? Old Dictators, Natural Resources, and Competitive Elections (February 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013545 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3013545

Seiki Tanaka (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

School of Politics and International Studies
Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
13
Abstract Views
213
PlumX Metrics