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Generals, Dictators, and Kings


  • Hanne Fjelde

    (Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University and Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO)


Recent years have seen a surge of literature examining how political institutions influence the risk of civil conflict. A comparatively neglected aspect of this debate has been the heterogeneous impact of different forms of authoritarianism. In this article, I theoretically and empirically unpack the authoritarian regime category. I argue that authoritarian regimes differ both in their capacity to forcefully control opposition and in their ability to co-opt their rivals through offers of power positions and rents. Authoritarian regimes thus exhibit predictable differences in their ability to avoid organized violent challenges to their authority. I examine the association between four types of authoritarian regimes—military, monarchy, single-party, and multi-party electoral autocracies—and the onset of civil conflict from 1973 to 2004. I find that military regimes and multi-party electoral autocracies run a higher risk of armed conflict than single-party authoritarian regimes, which on the other hand seem to have an institutional set-up that makes them particularly resilient to armed challenges to their authority. These findings suggest that the emerging view, that political institutions are not a significant determinant of civil conflict, results from treating a heterogeneous set of authoritarian regimes as homogenous.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanne Fjelde, 2010. "Generals, Dictators, and Kings," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 27(3), pages 195-218, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:compsc:v:27:y:2010:i:3:p:195-218

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel G. Arce M. & Todd Sandler, 2005. "Counterterrorism," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(2), pages 183-200, April.
    2. B. Peter Rosendorff & Todd Sandler, 2004. "Too Much of a Good Thing?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 48(5), pages 657-671, October.
    3. Carlos Pestana Barros, 2003. "An intervention analysis of terrorism: The spanish eta case," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 401-412.
    4. Drakos, Konstantinos & Kutan, Ali M., 2001. "Regional effects of terrorism on tourism: Evidence from three Mediterranean countries," ZEI Working Papers B 26-2001, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    5. Carlos Pestana Barros & Luis Gil-Alana, 2006. "Eta: A Persistent Phenomenon," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 95-116.
    6. Joao Ricardo Faria & Daniel Arce, 2005. "Terror Support And Recruitment," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 263-273.
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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Caruso, Raul & Petrarca , Ilaria & Ricciuti, Roberto, 2013. "Is there a Diffusion of Military Regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa? Empirical Evidence in the Period 1972-2007," NEPS Working Papers 4/2013, Network of European Peace Scientists.
    2. repec:taf:defpea:v:27:y:2016:i:5:p:609-625 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Knutsen, Carl Henrik, 2013. "Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Vincenzo Bove & Jennifer Brauner, 2016. "The demand for military expenditure in authoritarian regimes," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(5), pages 609-625, September.


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