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The Constitutional Economics of Autocratic Succession


  • Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard


The paper extends and empirically tests GordonTullock's public choice theory of the nature of autocracy. A simple model of the relationship between constitutional rules governing succession in autocratic regimes and the occurrence of coups against autocrats is sketched. The model is applied to a case study of coups against monarchs in Denmark in the period ca. 935–1849. A clear connection is found between the specific constitutional rules governing succession and the frequency of coups. Specifically, the introduction of automatic hereditary succession inan autocracy provides stability and limits the number of coups conducted by contenders. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2000. "The Constitutional Economics of Autocratic Succession," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 63-84, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:103:y:2000:i:1:p:63-84
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1005078532251

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Norman Schofield, 1978. "Instability of Simple Dynamic Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 575-594.
    2. Anderson, Gary M & Boettke, Peter J, 1993. "Perestroika and Public Choice: The Economics of Autocratic Succession in a Rent-Seeking Society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 101-118, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0449-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Vincenzo Bove & Roberto Nisticò, 2014. "Coups d’état and defense spending: a counterfactual analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 321-344, December.
    3. Benno Torgler & Bruno Frey, 2013. "Politicians: be killed or survive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 357-386, July.
    4. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Harald Oberhofer & Paul Raschky, 2011. "Oil and the duration of dictatorships," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 505-530, September.
    5. Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2005. "Ulysses and the Rent-Seekers: The Benefits and Challenges of Constitutional Constraints on Leviathan," Ratio Working Papers 68, The Ratio Institute.
    6. Bruno Frey, 2011. "Tullock challenges: happiness, revolutions, and democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 269-281, September.
    7. George Tridimas, 2016. "On the overthrow or endurance of kings," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 41-65, March.
    8. Grigory V. Kalyagin & Vladimir A. Kozlov, 2012. "Coordination in Political Machinery under Dictatorship: Signals, Shirking and Repression," Working Papers 0001, Moscow State University, Faculty of Economics.
    9. Alexander Baturo, 2007. "Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp209, IIIS.
    10. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2012. "Modeling constitutional choice: reflections on The Calculus of Consent 50 years on," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 407-413, September.
    11. Giuriato, Luisa, 2008. "Combining autocracy and majority voting: the canonical succession rules of the Latin Church," MPRA Paper 15164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2017. "Three comments on ”Gordon Tullock and the rational choice commitment”," MPRA Paper 83115, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Kai A. Konrad & Vai-Lam Mui, 2015. "The Prince – or better no prince? The Strategic Value of Appointing a Successor," Monash Economics Working Papers 15-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    14. Fernando Aragón, 2014. "Why do parties use primaries?: Political selection versus candidate incentives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 205-225, July.

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