Power-Sharing and Leadership Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes

42 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2005 Last revised: 4 Sep 2018

See all articles by Milan Svolik

Milan Svolik

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 1, 2008

Abstract

I examine a fundamental problem of politics in authoritarian regimes: the dictator and the ruling coalition must share power and govern in an environment where political influence must be backed by a credible threat of violence. I develop a model of authoritarian politics in which power-sharing is complicated by this conflict of interest: by exploiting his position, the dictator may acquire more power at the expense of the ruling coalition, which may attempt to deter such opportunism by threatening to stage a coup. Two power-sharing regimes, contested and established dictatorships, may emerge as a result of strategic behavior by the dictator and the ruling coalition. This theory accounts for the large variation in the duration of dictators' tenures and the concentration of power in dictatorships over time and it contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of power-sharing and accountability in authoritarian regimes.

Keywords: dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, political economy, formal political theory

Suggested Citation

Svolik, Milan, Power-Sharing and Leadership Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes (November 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=860744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.860744

Milan Svolik (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

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