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Coups, revolutions and efficient policies in autocracies

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  • Gilli, Mario
  • Li, Yuan

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction of two mechanisms that might constrain the power of dictators: the threat of a coup by the selectorate and a revolution by citizens. Our results help explain a stylized fact, namely that autocracies are far more likely to be either the best or the worst performers in terms of growth and public goods policies. To this end, we focus on accountability within dictatorships using a model where both the selectorate and the citizens are the principals and the autocrat is the agent. Our results highlight that both excessively strong and excessively weak dictators lead to poor economic performances, and that a balanced distribution of de facto political power is required to incentivize the dictator to choose efficient economic policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilli, Mario & Li, Yuan, 2015. "Coups, revolutions and efficient policies in autocracies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 109-124.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:39:y:2015:i:c:p:109-124
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2015.04.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2011. "Dictators And Their Viziers: Endogenizing The Loyalty–Competence Trade‐Off," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 903-930, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:410-428 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Schwuchow, Soeren, 2018. "Extractive Institutions, Choking Taxes, and War: On the (Beneficial) Impact of Inequality in Autocracies," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181530, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Thomas Apolte, 2016. "Gordon Tullock’s theory of revolution and dictatorship," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 158-178, June.
    4. Aidt, Toke S. & Albornoz, Facundo & Gassebner, Martin, 2018. "The golden hello and political transitions," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 157-173.
    5. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:205-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Paul Maarek & Michael T. Dorsch, 2015. "Rent seeking, revolutionary threat and coups in non-democracies," THEMA Working Papers 2015-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    7. Gerling, Lena, 2017. "Riots and the Window of Opportunity for Coup Plotters: Evidence on the Link between Urban Protests and Coups d’État," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168054, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. De Luca, Giacomo & Sekeris, Petros G. & Vargas, Juan F., 2018. "Beyond divide and rule: Weak dictators, natural resources and civil conflict," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 205-221.
    9. Mario, Gilli & Yuan, Li, 2018. "Transitions and Political Stability in Autocracies. The Role of Public Perception," Working Papers 383, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 13 Jul 2018.
    10. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1082-1103 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autocracy; Accountability; Coup; Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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