The Political Price of Authoritarian Control: Evidence from Francoist Land Settlements in Spain

53 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021 Last revised: 11 Mar 2022

See all articles by Michael Albertus

Michael Albertus

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 4, 2022

Abstract

Many authoritarian regimes around the world use policy-based strategies of social control in lieu of more coercive tools like repression. When these regimes fall to democracy, do authoritarian successors pay a political price for these policies? This paper examines the political cost of one common authoritarian policy of control – land settlement schemes – in the context of Spain. The Franco dictatorship initiated a decades-long program to ameliorate land pressure by resettling excess rural labor in hundreds of new government-created towns in colonization zones throughout the country. This paper examines post-democratization voting patterns in municipalities containing new towns compared to a counterfactual set of proximate similar municipalities that were also in government-created colonization zones. I find that land settlement caused a backlash once Spain returned to democracy: voters turned left and were less likely to support the regime’s successor party. I attribute this to a legacy of authoritarian political and economic oversight and manipulation in newly settled towns.

Keywords: Authoritarianism, voting, democratization, Western Europe, development

Suggested Citation

Albertus, Michael, The Political Price of Authoritarian Control: Evidence from Francoist Land Settlements in Spain (February 4, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3948952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3948952

Michael Albertus (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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