The Political Economics of Non-democracy
60 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2020 Last revised: 2 Jun 2022
Date Written: October 6, 2020
We survey recent theoretical and empirical literature on political economics of non-democracies. Nondemocratic regimes face multiple challenges to their rule, both internal, such as palace coups or breakdown of their support coalition, and external, such as mass protests or revolutions. We analyze strategic decisions made by dictators from the standpoint of maximizing the chances of regime survival in the light of these challenges, and show how it explains multiple patterns, from hiring political loyalists to positions that require competence, to restricting media freedom at the cost of sacrificing bureaucratic efficiency, to running propaganda campaigns, organizing election fraud, purging opponents and associates, and repressing citizens.
Keywords: nondemocratic politics, authoritarianism, dictatorship, bureaucracy, electoral fraud, protests, revolutions, coup d’etat, media freedom, propaganda, censorship, repressions, institutionalized ruling party
JEL Classification: P16, D74, D72, D82, C73, D83
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