authoritarian bargain

Dictatorships stay in power by striking an economic bargain with their elites, who agree to give up freedom in return for material advantages over the other residents of these often remarkably poor countries, often in the form of patronage arrangements.

"Dictatorial rule is often explained as an authoritarian bargain by which citizens relinquish political rights for economic security. The applicability of the authoritarian bargain to decision-making in non-democratic states, however, has not been thoroughly examined. We conceptualize this bargain as a simple game between a representative citizen and an autocrat who faces the threat of insurrection, and where economic transfers and political influence are simultaneously determined. Our model yields implications for empirical patterns that are expected to exist. Tests of a system of equations with panel data comprising 80 non-democratic states between 1975 and 1999 generally confirm the predictions of the authoritarian-bargain thesis, with some variation across different categories of dictatorship".

Source:"The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains"

Economics & Politics, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 93-125, March 2009

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