IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Making Autocracy Work

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy Besley
  • Masayuki Kudamatsu

One of the key goals of political economy is to understand how institutional arrangementsshape policy outcomes. This paper studies a comparatively neglected aspect of this - theforces that shape heterogeneous performance of autocracies. The paper develops a simpletheoretical model of accountability in the absence of regularized elections. Leadershipturnover is managed by a selectorate - a group of individuals on whom the leader depends tohold onto power. Good policy is institutionalized when the selectorate removes poorlyperforming leaders from office. This requires that the selectorate's hold on power is not toodependent on a specific leader being in office. The paper looks empirically at spells ofautocracy to establish cases where it has been successful according to various objectivecriteria. We use these case studies to identify the selectorate in specific instances of successfulautocracy. We also show that, consistent with the theory, leadership turnover in successfulautocracies is higher than in unsuccessful autocracies. Finally, we show by exploitingleadership deaths from natural causes that successful autocracies appear to have found waysfor selectorates to nominate successors without losing power - a feature which is alsoconsistent with the theoretical approach.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/de/dedps48.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 48.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: May 2007
Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:48
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2002. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Democratization and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6987, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," NBER Working Papers 12175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jean Paul Azam & Robert Bates & Bruno Biais, 2009. "Political Predation And Economic Development," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 255-277, 07.
  5. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2004. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," Working Papers w0043, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2002. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. S. Guriev & G. Egorov & K. Sonin., 2007. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  9. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2012. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence From Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1294-1317, December.
  10. Overland, Jody & Simons, Kenneth L & Spagat, Michael, 2000. "Political Instability and Growth in Dictatorships," CEPR Discussion Papers 2653, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Fractionalization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1959, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/229724, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    • Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," NBER Working Papers 9411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    • Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
  13. Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce & Morrow, James D. & Siverson, Randolph M. & Smith, Alastair, 2002. "Political Institutions, Policy Choice and the Survival of Leaders," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 559-590, October.
  14. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
  17. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," NBER Working Papers 13102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," NBER Working Papers 10136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2007. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Working Papers 0705, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2007.
  21. Angus Deaton, 1999. "Commodity Prices and Growth in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 23-40, Summer.
  22. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  23. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, December.
  24. George Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession," Economics Working Papers 0054, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  25. Weingast, Barry R. & Wittman, Donald, 2008. "The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199548477.
  26. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
  27. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
  28. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
  29. Jennifer Gandhi & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "Cooperation, Cooptation, And Rebellion Under Dictatorships," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, 03.
  30. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  31. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Participatory Politics, Social Cooperation, and Economic Stability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 140-144, May.
  32. Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2006. "The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear," NBER Working Papers 12573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. repec:pri:cepsud:131dixit is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2000. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521794497, December.
  35. Persson, Torsten, 2005. "Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4938, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  36. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  37. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
  38. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
  39. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
  40. Avinash Dixit, 2006. "Predatory States and Failing States: An Agency Perspective," Working Papers 71, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:48. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.